Housing minister Caroline Flint today announced 15 locations that will go forward to the next stage in the eco-town plan.

From a list of 57 proposals from local authorities and developers the 15 which go through to the next round are:

Pennbury in Leicestershire

Manby and Strubby in Lincolnshire

Curborough in Staffordshire

Middle Quinton in Warwickshire

Bordon-Whitehill in Hampshire

Weston Otmoor in Oxfordshire

Ford in West Sussex

Imerys China Clay Community in Cornwall

Rossington in South Yorkshire

Coltishall in Norfolk

Hanley Grange in Cambridgeshire

Marston Vale and New Marston in Bedfordshire

Elsenham in Essex

Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire

Leeds City Region in Yorkshire

Five eco-towns by 2016

The government has said it wants to build five eco-towns by 2016 and up to 10 by 2020 as part of ambitious plans to build 3 million homes by 2020. The government expects work to begin on some sites by 2010.

Developers whose schemes have made the shortlist include Parkridge at Weston Otmoor in Oxfordshire.

The government said today no new homes would be built on Green belt land while more than 30% of the overall new houses will be affordable housing.

Many of the shortlisted locations use previously developed brownfield land including former MoD land, military depots, disused airfields and former mining pits and industrial sites.

Zero carbon

The final schemes being promoted will have to reach zero carbon standards by promoting leading edge green technologies, provide high levels of affordable housing, demonstrate how they will deliver key infrastructure such as good public transport, schools and health facilities and safeguard local wildlife.

Eco-towns will be the first new towns since the 1960s and will tackle the combined challenges of climate change, the need for more sustainable living and a real shortage of housing for families and first-time buyers.

Flint said: ‘We have a major shortfall of housing and with so many buyers struggling to find suitable homes, more affordable housing is a huge priority. To face up to the threat of climate change, we must also cut the carbon emissions from our housing. Eco-towns will help solve both of these challenges.’