Eco towns and transport

11 Apr 2008 by Karl Hallam

Whether the Government will come to regret the use of the term 'eco town' remains to be seen, but it is interesting to see that a wide range of groups have picked up on the potential for the transport element of the initiative to be problematic. The Local Goverment Association hit the nail on the head when Sir Simon Milton said: 'It's no use building carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly houses if they are in the middle of nowhere with no facilities so that people have to drive miles to buy a loaf of bread or take their kids to school.'

In an unusual alliance of agreement the general message seems to be that eco towns will be endangering the Trade Descriptions Act if they make their residents car-dependent.

The Campaign for Protection of Rural England said: 'Our main worry is the proposed location of many of these schemes. For settlements to be genuinely "eco" they must be based around walking, cycling and public transport with a range of facilities available locally.'

The British Property Federation said: 'There remains some doubt about the transferability of these innovations, particularly as eco towns would be built from scratch, while many existing homes are in communities where minimising transport and power use is not always possible.'

The new Housing and Communities Agency does not have an official public voice yet, but let's hope that it listens to these comments on transport - especially as they do not come from the usual suspects.

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