Eco-towns drive residents green

Eco-towns should have space to grow food, plenty of tree cover and facilities to attract people away from shopping as a main leisure activity, a report has suggested.

The proposals for how the design of the new environmentally-friendly settlements can help residents cut their impact on the environment also include fitting buildings with "super-efficient" appliances and sourcing all energy from renewables.

The recommendations were published by the government's architectural advisers Cabe (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) and BioRegional as part of the ongoing debate about how to make the eco-towns scheme as green as possible.

The study, 'What Makes An Eco-Town?', said the new settlements should be places which make it easy for residents to reduce their "ecological footprint" - how much natural resources they use up - by two-thirds.

And the towns should help them cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels, the report said.

Proposals include putting aside room in the towns to grow local food, setting up links with nearby farms and putting shops near enough for "just-in-time" purchases to cut the impact of food production and waste.

The report also suggests making space for eco-friendly retailers, as well as swap shops and repair centres, to reduce the impact on the environment caused by consumer goods.

Developers are also urged to design towns which favour quality of life, community and health activities over shopping as a leisure activity.

Residential areas should enjoy a tree canopy cover of at least 25 per cent to help alleviate the impacts - such as increased heat - expected with climate change.

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