Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Eco-Town or Eco-Con?
This week I joined protestors from across the country to lobby Westminster about proposed Eco-Towns. Whilst the protesters were not objecting to the need to building environmentally sustainable homes, it appears that many of the proposed Eco-towns will be far from that.
The nearest Eco-town proposed to me is Hanley Grange, to be constructed on a prime green field location. It is not "in my back yard" but the impact will be felt on our already overcrowded roads and infrastructure. The A1307 has already claimed 3 lives this year and, like many rural roads, simply can not take any more traffic. Developers claim that 40% of journeys from this Eco-town will not be by car - but that still means the majority will. This town has already been turned down twice purely because the location did not meet sustainability tests.
There is a need for affordable housing for local people, but 40% of the 42,500 homes already planned around Cambridge will be affordable. That is nearly three times the number of people currently waiting for housing.
All new homes should be built to higher environmental standards - but the sustainablity standards for Eco-town homes appear to be dropping below that expected of others. The government has back-tracked from its initial promise that the one town already approved (ie Northstowe) will be an Eco-town. The more I learn about this fast tracking through the planning process for Eco-towns the more I believe that this is being driven by political headline grabbing rather than a desire to go green. More Here