More eco-towns in green planning reforms
The government has announced two new eco-town sites, as it unveiled a series of planning changes to encourage sustainable development.
Housing minister John Healey revealed two more local authorities have joined the list of ‘second wave’ eco-towns.
Sites planned by East Devon District Council and Fareham Borough Council will join fourteen other developments from nine local authorities which could become eco-town settlements. The sites will have to meet standards set by the eco-towns planning policy statement for low-carbon communities of at least 5,000 homes.
The eleven second-wave councils will receive a share of a £10 million fund to help plan the new sites.
Mr Healey also launched a ‘green planning rulebook’ for councils and pledged £9.75 million to develop green skills.
He announced a consultation on changes to three planning policy statements which will ensure councils encourage low carbon and renewable energy on new developments.
The three statements – Climate Change, Natural Environment, and Coastal Change – will encourage sustainable developments which aim to reduce carbon emissions. The additional funding will help local councils train members and planners in sustainable planning practices.
Mr Healey said: ‘We know we need greener, renewable energy if we are to meet our ambitious low carbon targets. We also know that the ways and means for people to access this energy need to be quicker and easier.
‘The tougher, better guidelines for planning give councils a new blueprint, reflecting the latest targets and ensuring councils put combating climate change at the heart of future development – ultimately saving people money on their bills and reducing emissions.’
Planners and builders welcomed the consultation proposals. Dr Hugh Ellis, chief planner at the Town and Country Planning Association, said: ‘This is an historic moment. Planning can, and must, address the critical need to reshape our society and economy into a positive low carbon future.
‘This policy is one of the most dramatic and significant steps forward in the development of spatial planning.’
Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: ‘Today’s announcement recognises the critical role that planning plays in tackling climate change and adapting to its impacts. Planning really is at the heart of creating sustainable communities.’