£60m pledge to lay green foundations of eco-towns

Last year Housing Minister John 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.

This latest 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.

Healey said: "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."

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