Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Nine locations given go ahead to become eco-towns

Nine new locations have been given permission to develop plans to become environmentally friendly eco-towns, the Government has announced.

By Rosa Prince, Political CorrespondentPublished: 4:09PM GMT 01 Dec 2009
Among the “second wave” of proposals for new eco-towns being developed by local councils is land alongside the Bradford Shipley canal corridor, and Shoreham Harbour in West Sussex.
In July, John Healey, the housing minister, gave four locations the go ahead to become eco-towns from an original shortlist of 15 sites.

The next nine have now been permission to proceed with developing plans for new settlements which meet environmentally-friendly standards, and will receive a share of £5 million in Government funds.
To qualify to become an eco-town a development must have 5,000 homes, at least 30 per cent of which should be affordable for those on low incomes, and contain low-carbon services, buildings, transport and energy.
Shoreham Harbour and a second site in Northstowe, Cambridge, have already begun development and will be redesigned to meet higher levels of sustainability.
Five more local authorities are seeking to set up potential eco-towns across 10 locations.
They are: Monkton Heathfield and Corneytrowe in Taunton, Yeovil, the Lincoln area and Gainsborough, Coventry, and the Leeds City Region – which covers four sites at Aire Valley, York North West, North Kirklees and Bradford Shipley canal corridor.
Councils in Cornwall and Sheffield have been given the go ahead to carry out a survey of potential eco-town development in their areas.
The Government’s aim is to build 10 eco-towns by 2020.
Mr Healey said: "The further nine areas are looking at proposals to design and develop to the tough new eco-town standard.
"This signals real and radical momentum to change and rethink how we design our towns and homes for the future.
"We are leading the world with these developments, which combine affordable housing with new green infrastructures and an exceptional quality of life."
Eco-towns are opposed by critics who claim that they will "devastate the countryside" by increasing traffic congestion, destroying wildlife habitats and exacerbating flooding.
Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said: "Ministers have already conceded that eco-towns will create homes which are less green than ordinary houses built at the same time.
"This latest desperate announcement is the Government simply trying to save face by throwing in existing planned developments and calling them eco-towns."