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Eco-Towns being developed for wrong reasons says think tank

The green credentials of the government's 10 proposed eco-towns were rubbished this week in a critical report from environmental think tank the Optimum Population Trust (OPT).

"We believe the rationale for eco-towns is based on a discredited 'predict and provide' approach which is an inappropriate way of dealing with major environmental challenges," says the OPT report.

It comes after heavy criticism of eco-towns from the 15-strong government appointed challenge panel which advises on eco-towns (News last week).

"We are concerned that the development of green energy within eco-towns is a bottom-up approach that will take years to come to fruition," said OPT.

The report also criticises the eco-town approach of building in isolated rural sites as opposed to redeveloping brownfield sites.

"Opportunities within or adjoining existing settlements should be explored. This will minimise land take and enable existing infrastructure and services to be utilised. It is notable that the overseas examples included in the consultation document are all extensions/redevelopments within existing cities."

The Government this week answered its critics by presenting the results of a poll of 1,700 adults showing that the public were five to one in favour of creating eco-towns. The poll shows that 46% were in favour of the towns and 9% were against. If the development was built within 8km of their home then those in favour fell to 34% with 15% against.

"This research underlines the real recognition among the public of the importance of building more affordable homes, and their support for the idea of an eco-town in the local area," said housing minister Caroline Flint.

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