A selection of images representing communities.
|Published||8 February 2010|
Housing Minister John Healey has today backed the country's biggest ever green home building programme, with four areas sharing £60m cash to build over 600 new homes to the toughest ever environmental standards.
These new 'eco-show homes' will be built in and around the four pioneering eco-town locations, introducing nearly 2,000 people to green living and saving them hundreds of pounds on bills. Nearly a third of these homes will be affordable.
Last year Mr Healey gave the go-ahead for the first wave of world leading eco-town sites in Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire.
By 2016, 10,000 eco homes will be built in the four landmark areas. The new homes and new neighbourhoods will be designed, planned and built to world leading environmental standards.
Today's cash will introduce greener living not only for people who go on to live in the new eco-towns, but for the 65,000 people already living nearby. Construction could also potentially create and support up to 2000 local jobs, including apprenticeships to help advance new green building skills.
People will see first hand the latest technology like smart meters to track energy use, electric car charging points, properly insulated homes built to the toughest ever standards and systems for saving water and recycling or composting waste. Most of the eco-show homes will be available for sale so that hundreds of families can experience green living and get a feel for eco-homes of the future.
The funding will also improve existing transport links, including rapid routes for buses with real-time travel information, green travel hubs and facilities for electric cars and bikes. Pioneering new energy projects will be set up so that residents take their energy from natural sources.
Funding will also be used for environmental education projects and boosting the energy efficiency of existing schools - including a new low carbon sixth form for the Cooper School in Bicester and retrofitting of primary schools and libraries in Whitehill-Bordon.
The cash is a major boost for the councils driving forward the innovative blueprints for the main eco-towns in their "masterplans", before seeking public approval and planning permission.
Housing Minister John Healey, said:
"Last year I gave the go-ahead to the first wave of world-leading eco-towns that will set the global standard for green living while helping tackle climate change and the shortage of affordable homes.
"Since then these four areas have done a huge amount of work to plan new homes designed and built to the toughest ever environmental standards. Today I'm backing them with £60m to help get these projects off the ground.
"This is the start of the country's biggest ever eco-home building programme. As a first step, 600 will be built in these four areas - most will be for sale but some will be permanent eco-show homes. By 2016 there will be 10,000 new eco homes in these four pioneering areas. This means people will be able to experience green living for themselves and see how It can change their lives and save money.
"But green living isn't just about homes. That's why this cash will also help transform local schools and create new transport links and energy sources. By the time the eco-towns are finished green living will already be a way of life for these communities.
"Local workers, including apprentices, will help build these pioneering homes and other projects. This will arm them with the new skills in green construction, giving them a head start on their career paths."
Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said:
"As the world faces ever greater challenges in tackling climate change, schools are a crucial part of our national effort towards a lower energy and greener Britain.
"With schools contributing around two per cent towards the UK's carbon footprint, we have a moral responsibility to reduce this and so last week we announced our plans to help schools be greener. Our £2.5 million of funding towards the eco-towns project will help set us on this road to new zero carbon schools and for reduced carbon emissions from existing schools with pilot projects in these areas.
"Our children deserve not only the best learning environments, but sustainable ones to protect the planet for their future and that of generations to come. The top supporters of these efforts are the young people themselves."
1. The Government announced of the locations with potential to be an eco-town last July in the Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns. Schemes must now submit planning applications for local authorities to determine through the planning process, and this will provide further opportunities for consultation on the proposals.
2. The £60m funding was pledged by John Healey last year, and today he allocated the funding for the councils after a competitive bidding process. The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) has pledged £2.5m to support this fund for greener schools.
3. The £62.5m fund will be distributed across the four first wave sites for a range of 'demonstrator projects' that will introduce and test greener living for approximately over 65,000 people currently living in the local areas. 100 eco show homes will be built within the existing communities, with work starting from as early as next month. Approximately 500 homes will be built on the eco-town sites next year, pending planning permission. The £60m will also fund community projects, new transport links, low carbon schools and retrofitting 90 existing buildings - reducing bills and emissions for up to 270 residents. The eco homes will be built to high environmental standards, using local apprentice schemes so that new skills are generated during construction.
4. Community engagement projects will involve local people in the new settlements and encourage residents to take an active part in creating highly sustainable developments.
5. Today's allocation follows from John Healey's announcement in December to help a second wave of major developments to eco-town standards come forward. He announced that a further nine local authorities and partnerships are considering plans to develop new communities to eco-town standards. He also pledged to double the money to a total of £10m to support councils in developing these plans.
6. The skills required to create the new zero-carbon developments will be more technical and advanced than ever before. Whitehill-Bordon have already started recruiting skilled 'green collar' workers, including biodiversity and home energy experts to ensure they and their partners have the capacity to deliver a world-class development. Specific training schemes in green skills are being set up to ensure there are enough people with the right expertise to deliver the projects and continue the economic rejuvenation of the wider area.
7. Eco-towns will also provide opportunities for local green businesses to benefit from the new skills and technologies that the developments will rely on. For example, a retrofit display home in Cornwall, funded by the £60m, will provide opportunities for local businesses to gain the knowledge and skills to develop into the low carbon and retrofit market place.
8. The funding allocation for each location follows. The specific amount for 2010-11 is still to be decided pending further assessment of development agreements with investors.
|2009-10 (CLG/HCA)||2010-11 (CLG/HCA) (indicative)||DCSF||Total|
(China Clay Communities)
|North West Bicester||£9.05m||£2-6m||£0.46m||£11.51-15.51m|
9. Eco-towns can help demonstrate many of the areas of innovation which the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Government's innovation agency, is seeking to achieve in particular the objectives of its workstreams on Low Impact Buildings, Digital Economy, Assisted Living, Intelligent Transport Systems and Services, and Low Carbon Vehicles. The TSB is now establishing individual partnership arrangements with the four eco-towns, and subject to competitive bids being submitted, will aim to provide monitoring and evaluation funding and technical support for the major exemplar developments coming forward.
10. Regional teams from the Homes and Communities Agency are supporting the four eco-town local authorities on a range of technical and delivery issues and CLG is providing HCA with an additional £2M to cover this work in 2009/10 and 2010/11.
11. Eco-towns will include:
12. A summary of the councils proposals for demonstrator projects supported by the £60m Growth Fund are listed below:
13. The Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement, published in July 2009, provides greater planning support for this type of development and it is expected that applications from the first wave of schemes will be handled quickly. A timescale for these is likely to be:
|2010||The first exhibition and demonstrator projects including new green homes and other buildings on site and open to visit, in each of the four areas to showcase technology and innovation, supported by £60M growth start up funding;|
|2010||Consideration and decision on planning applications for masterplan and major development schemes in the 4 first wave locations;|
|2010-onwards||Identification of 'second wave' of eco-towns through local and regional plans|
|2016||10,000 homes in place in the 4 pioneer locations, of which at least 30 per cent are affordable, other second wave eco-towns underway.|
|2020||Up to 10 eco-town developments built out or well under way.|
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