Saturday, October 18, 2008

One Totnes Pound

It may not look like a traditional watermarked banknote and there's no sign of the Queen's bonce, but the Totnes Pound is legal tender in, well, the town of Totnes in Devon. Last year Totnes was the first UK town to introduce its own banknotes, and now Lewes, East Sussex has followed suit. It is hoped the venture will make the towns more independent and self-sufficient – which, in the current economic crisis seems like a great idea.

Both towns are highly community-minded and consist of local, independent shops – which, as well as being far more interesting than your usual bland high street shops, keep money in the community. At least 80% of profits from large supermarkets immediately leave the local area.

Devon seems to be one of the few forward thinking counties in England: last year Modbury made the news when it became the first UK town to ban plastic bags from its shops and introduce its own canvas bag. It's hard to imagine any big changes happening in large cities such as London until it's too late.

Read more about Totnes' Transition Initiative here.

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