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Gary Neville – Eco Warrior

2011 May 20
by Paul Vallely

From Red Nev to Green Gary. England’s most capped right-back, Gary Neville, seems at first glance an unlikely eco-warrior. As captain of Manchester United he hardly seemed a model of sensitivity when it came to the finer feelings of others, so far as opposing players and fans were concerned. He was a player of intense combativeness and bitter rivalries.

So some were surprised he applied for planning permission to build a futuristic eco-home on moorland to the north of the city which experts say is one of the country’s most energy-efficient residential developments and the first zero-carbon house in north-west England.  Local residents objected to the plans complaining that the eight-bedroom underground home – with petal-shaped enclaves containing bedrooms, bathrooms, a garage, a children’s play area and a swimming pool around a centrepiece kitchen – looked like something from the Teletubbies.  Bolton Council turned down his first planning application.

Yet with the same implacable commitment he showed on the pitch Mr Neville persisted with the home on whose design he put in almost three years work. What has emerged shows Gary Neville’s serious commitment to sustainability. He has also developed a close involvement with the green energy company Ecotricity and is dedicating money from his farewell testimonial match next week – in which a United team including old colleagues like David Beckham play Juventus – to the Sports Sustainability Fund which aims to green football at, pardon the pun, the grassroots level. There is clearly something to be said for partisan single-mindedness.


from The Independent

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