The government's troubled eco-towns initiative received a further knock yesterday, as architect Sir Terry Farrell labelled them a 'distraction' from the real issues of climate change.
Speaking at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting, Farrell, who is developing ideas for an eco-region in the Thames Gateway said: "If you built 10 eco-towns, this still leaves 59M living in houses of today. The real issue is what we do with the stuff there now."
He added that roads and other infrastructure also needed upgrading.
Farrell is also worried about government procrastination.
"We had planning permission for the Greenwich peninsular development in 2002, and it is still waiting to be built, and certainly will not start for another four to five years,” he said.
Housing minister Ian Wright said he did not believe eco-towns were a solution to housing shortages, but could serve as a guide.
"It is how we start to address the supply of housing, and how we deliver in a sustainable way," he said.
Wright said a new Public Policy statement on eco-towns would be
issued "shortly" and would not be drawn on the final number of eco-towns to be approved, although as few as two or three of the
remaining schemes are thought to meet the government's own criteria.