Magazine article Management Today

Behind the Spin: ECO Towns

Magazine article Management Today

Behind the Spin: ECO Towns

Article excerpt

THE DILEMMA

They were meant to be an optimistic initiative that would steal a march on the Tory party, but Gordon Brown's idea is now as unpopular as the PM himself. The plan to create 10 new 'green' towns across England that meet high environmental standards was at the heart of Brown's address to the Labour conference last September. Each town would have 5,000-20,000 homes, 30% of which would be affordable. All would have carbon-zero status and use the latest in eco-design. Since then, three of the 16 shortlisted contenders have dropped out, and others are being opposed by such motley campaigners such as Germaine Greer, Lord Richard Rogers and Duncan Goodhew. Ministers have postponed publication of the final shortlist from October to early next year, and there's speculation that the target of 10 may be lowered.

THE SPIN

The Government says the delay is to allow more time to consider revised entries. The Department for Communities and Local Government remains gung-ho. 'The proof will be in the pudding,' it says, and most schemes are going ahead. Bill Dunster, designer of the UK's largest carbon-neutral development BedZED, thinks the eco-town project a good thing. 'It's very clever,' he told The Times, 'because it creates a market for carbon-zero homes. …

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