- Eco towns public consultation deadline extended, to Thursday 30 April, February 26  There are currently eleven locations on the eco-towns shortlist: - Rackheath, Greater Norwich; Middle Quinton, Warwickshire; Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire; Ford, West Sussex; Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire; St Austell (China Clay Community), Cornwall; Rossington, South Yorkshire; North East Elsenham, Essex; Pennbury, Leicestershire; Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire; - North West Bicester (Cherwell) - an alternative to Weston Otmoor. The developers promoting Marston Vale in Bedfordshire withdrew from the eco-towns process earlier in February.
- 19 The Eco towns second round of consultation runs from November 4 2008 until February 19 2009
Sustainability Appraisal Edit
A detailed Sustainability Appraisal on each location is now published. This identifies and evaluates the likely impact of the proposals on the local economy, community and environment, and considers reasonable alternatives.
The Sustainability Appraisal has assessed the majority of the shortlisted locations as Grade B sites, which would be suitable for eco-towns subject to meeting specific planning and design objectives. One location has been rated as Grade A, which is generally suitable for an eco-town, and one location as Grade C, which is only likely to be suitable for an eco-town with substantial and exceptional innovation.
Sustainability standards Edit
The sustainability standards proposed in the Planning Policy Statement include:
- Achieving zero carbon status across all the town's buildings, including commercial and public buildings as well as homes - a significantly tougher threshold than any existing or agreed targets
- Allocating 40 per cent of the area within the town to be green space, at least half of which should be open to the public as parks or recreation areas
- Requiring individual homes to reach the Building for Life silver standard and also achieve 70% carbon savings above current building regulations in terms of heating, hot water and lighting
- Providing a minimum of 30 per cent affordable housing to provide more homes for social rent and assist those struggling to get on the housing ladder
- Creating more options for travel so that residents are able to make the majority of their journeys without a car, such as by public transport, walking and cycling
- Ensuring a minimum of one job per house can be reached by walking, cycling or public transport to reduce dependence on the car
- Locating homes within 10 minutes walk of frequent public transport and everyday neighbourhood services
- Raising the threshold for individual homes so that they must all achieve at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which includes standards for household waste recycling, construction waste, water efficiency measures and reduced pollution
- "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." Housing Minister Margaret Beckett
What happens after the consultation? Edit
Following the end of this consultation, the Government will announce a final shortlist of locations with the potential to site an eco-town. Schemes in these locations will then need to apply for planning permission and go through the local planning process. "Eco-towns should be considered in the same way as any other major development proposal and the Government remains committed to the plan-led system. The eco-town standards set out in the PPS, and the assessment work on locations, will be a material consideration for decision makers."