This article might be more than 2 years old but the argument remains the same

Lord Rogers is absolutely right to describe eco town plans as 'one of the biggest mistakes' the Government could make, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB says: "Eco town plans are nothing short of a Government 'greenwash' to hide its outdated housing policy. The reality is that we already know how to create sustainable settlements as demonstrated by the BedZed affordable eco-homes development in south London which has been a shining example to the UK house building industry since 2002. The simple fact is that building brand new 'eco-towns' outside existing towns and cities is a really bad idea when there are 675,000 homes in England alone sitting empty and ripe for refitting with green technologies."

Berry continued: "Given that demand for housing is right across the UK it makes more sense for every village, town and city to have new housing rather than creating brand new settlements. How green are these new towns going to be in transport terms? The sad truth is that any new eco-town can only be another car-based satellite suburb. Even with car clubs, cycle lanes and a top-notch bus service, these places are going to be packed out with new roads and, as we all know, new roads lead to more car use - and more carbon emissions."

Berry continued: "There is also the issue about the role of small contractors in this whole debate or rather their absence!. Handing out massive contracts like this works against all the smaller, more innovative construction building companies springing up around the country which leaves open the possibility of bad decisions being multiplied on a grand scale. The answer to creating green settlements is not to rely solely on one technology or one supplier. A far better model for this scheme would be a patchwork of hundreds of smaller eco-projects, with contracts awarded by local regions and communities for both new homes (in existing towns, near existing transport links) and refurbishment of old buildings, with green measures spread around a range of proven technologies. Now that really would be a revolution in turning Britain into a greener more sustainable place to live!"

22 May 2008


  1. This view was echoed by Grant Schapps after he took office. In a letter to the leader of Broadland District Council he stated that he wanted to see zero carbon development in every house, every street and every community not just in ECO - Towns.

  2. This part of the story is not two years old.
    The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has come under scrutiny. It lobbied strongly for the eco-towns and also happens to include in its subscribed membership many of the developers who went on to bid for them. The TCPA was put in charge of setting the sustainability standards for eco-towns, for which it has received a considerable amount of money from the government – although the charity maintains it has had no involvement in the ‘choice of processes nor potential locations’.

    The TCPA has also been accused of an alleged conflict of interest, since some of its leaders acted as consultants to eco-town bidders. Their involvement is unusual as an organisation that has always prided itself on the importance of local consultation. The distinguished planner and TCPA member, Peter Hall*, is known to be very uncomfortable that eco-towns could be fast- tracked through the planning system.
    In response to the allegations, he TCPA said it had ‘called for a full, public, local inquiry to be held into any eco-town proposal not already allocated in a develop¬ment plan’, and that ‘due process [was] vital to the programme’.

    * Professor Sir Peter Hall is now the President of the TCPA and Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at University College London.

  3. So how do we call for a full, public local enquiry into this eco-town proposal at Rackheath? It is not yet in the development plan and a proper public enquiry is vital to validate the due process. After the half baked scheme presented to the Examination in Public into the GNDP's Joint Core Strategy, last week this development will have no credibility without it.

  4. How right he is, but sadly Broadland Council are only interested in supporting their Big Developer friends and not the local small builders. For some reason they just have to ensure that these National Developers make their huge profits. Small groups of houses built in our villages and towns by LOCAL builders would do much more good.

  5. Lord Rogers and Brian Berry are so right but will our Councillors listen to them ? I doubt it but perhaps we can live in hope.

  6. While achieving PROFIT for their Developer Friends remains the first objective of Broadland Council they will never listen to anyone else including the local residents. They will not be happy until they have concreted over all the NE Triangle and destroyed vital foor producing farmland and our villages.