Eco-towns threaten UK’s environment
by David Masters
October 29, 2008
Eco-towns are a threat to the UK’s wildlife and landscape according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
The British government wants to build ten environmentally friendly eco-towns on brownfield and greenfield sites across the UK.
However, CPRE has accused the government of ignoring the concerns of its own advisory body on eco-towns and the environment, Natural England.
CPRE raised questions about whether eco-towns will genuinely be green.
According to Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at CPRE, environmental standards in eco-towns are ‘nothing like’ what they should be.
Oliver’s criticism follows a complaint from the Royal Town Planning Institute earlier this year that eco-towns have been simply been an excuse for landowners to re-submit planning applications that were rejected in the past.
CPRE also questioned the need for eco-towns to be so large; in many cases eco-towns will be built on majority greenfield land.
The government believes that eco-towns must be big to encourage innovation; CPRE disagrees, arguing that smaller projects will create more sustainable communities and will not encroach on greenfield land.
In addition, CPRE asked why eco-building isn’t being enforced as a standard in new building developments.
Kate Gordon, CPRE’s senior planner, pointed out that of the three millions planned by the government to be built by 2020, only 5% are in eco-towns.
CPRE also hit out at the government’s insistence on airport expansion and road building.
Oliver said government policy isn’t giving enough importance to advice given by Natural England.
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