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PR 42 - Government urged to adopt Eco-quarters policy

30 June 2008

Ecotown environmental standards should be applied to all new housing according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), which is calling on the Government to adopt an \"eco-quarters\" policy which encompasses urban expansion projects and redevelopment.

The call coincides with a march on Parliament today to protest against ecotowns and present a petition against them. The RTPI, which believes the Government is right to promote environmentally sustainable housing, believes the ecotown concept should be expanded to encompass all types of housing development so that only the most environmentally friendly and locally appropriate housing is allowed to proceed. It believes the only way to guarantee that is to ensure all housing is brought through a local, plan-led development framework, with every application judged against the same criteria.

The RTPI is calling on the Government to raise the minimum environmental standards that ecotowns must achieve in order to gain approval and broaden the concept to include regeneration and urban expansion projects. These types of development will ultimately be called upon to deliver the bulk of the 3 million new homes the Government says need to be built by 2020 and, as well as being easier to link to existing infrastructure and public transport networks, will offer residents greater opportunity to adopt live-work lifestyles.

RTPI Secretary General Robert Upton said: \"The environmental aims of ecotowns are laudable and the Government is right to pursue a policy of environmentally sustainable housing. But we'd like to see all new housing development aspire to the same high environmental standards.

\"Shifting focus from an ecotown to an eco-quarters policy, which encompasses urban expansion projects and redevelopment, would be a positive step in delivering sustainable lifestyles. Using and reusing existing infrastructure and services reduces the carbon load compared with new build. Locating development as part of existing towns reduces the need to travel. Intelligent urban design, with significant amounts of live-work developments, will contribute meaningfully to the eco-standards that the Government rightly seeks.\"

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479

Notes to Editors:

The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:

41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865