Government launches second Eco-Town consultation
The government today launched a second round of consultation on eco-towns which will examine proposed locations and standards for the towns.
Housing Minister Margaret Beckett published the draft Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement which she said ‘sets out the UK's toughest ever Green standards for new development, including achieving zero carbon status across all the buildings in the eco-town and allocating 40% of the area within the town to be green space’.
The policy statement also requires individual eco-towns to submit planning applications in the same way as any other major development proposal.
A detailed sustainability appraisal on each location was also published today. It identifies and evaluates the likely impact of the proposals on the local economy, community and environment, and considers reasonable alternatives.
The consultation will be on 12 shortlisted potential eco town locations which are:
- Rackheath, Greater Norwich: Grade A
- Middle Quinton, Warwickshire: Grade B
- Newton-Bingham (Rushcliffe), Nottinghamshire: Grade B
- Ford, West Sussex: Grade B
- Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire: Grade B
- St Austell (China Clay Community), Cornwall: Grade B
- Rossington, South Yorkshire: Grade B
- North East Elsenham, Essex: Grade B
- Pennbury, Leicestershire: Grade B
- Marston Vale, Bedfordshire: Grade B
- Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire: Grade C
- North West Bicester (Cherwell) - alternative to Weston Otmoor: Grade B
The grade A category means generally suitable for an eco-town, grade B means the town ‘might be a suitable location subject to meeting specific planning and design objectives’ while grade C towns are only ‘likely to be suitable as an eco-town with substantial and exceptional innovation’.
Beckett said: ‘The threat of climate change is a challenge we must tackle at every level and housing is no exception. Developing a greener approach to our housing need is crucial and eco-towns are a vital part of this programme. As well as providing additional homes they represent an opportunity to trial the kind of green technology that I hope will become commonplace in all new development.
‘The Government must be at the forefront of the green agenda and that is why today's proposed standards mean eco-towns face the UK's toughest ever green standards for new development.
'I believe it is vital we get the locations for these eco-towns right, and the shortlist has been refined to reflect the results of the most detailed assessment to date on these potential locations. But I do not expect all of these locations to go forward - the eco-town standards are tough and I think some of these shortlisted schemes could struggle to meet them. Everyone has the opportunity to have their say on these proposals, both now and in the future when planning applications are received.’
The second round of consultation will run until 19 February 2009. As part of this consultation a new website has been launched at www.direct.gov.uk/en/campaigns/ecotowns/DG_171848 to both explain the eco-towns concept and standards, and to invite comments and ideas.
Over the next month Communities and Local Government will also be running road show events in local areas close to the proposed eco-town locations to encourage awareness and responses to the consultation.