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Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

9. What contribution eco-towns are expected to make to the supply of housing, with particular reference to affordable homes. (188692)

Eco-towns offer an exciting opportunity to provide desperately needed new homes for families and first-time buyers, but in a way that is consistent with our climate change objectives. They must have at least 30 per cent. affordable housing, but I am keen to see whether we can achieve even more, with some developments pushing towards 50 per cent.

I hope that the Scottish Executive in Holyrood are listening to our commitment in this regard. I note that eco-towns will provide low running cost properties and good access to public transport, but does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to regenerate our towns and cities at the same time so that one does not succeed at the expense of the other?

I agree with my hon. Friend. It is important that the eco-towns of the future, of which we hope to have 10, take into account the areas where they are situated and the links with other communities. I see some real possibilities, particularly in realising a public transport vision in some communities. I understand from my hon. Friend and others from Scotland that the Scottish National party has been quiet on these matters, but I hope it will learn from the ambition and progress here in Westminster to provide homes in a way that meets our climate change objectives.

This morning, the Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland announced an eco-village for Enniskillen. We welcome all such developments, but may we have an assurance that we will make further progress at a more dynamic pace to try to reassure communities throughout the United Kingdom that we are serious about climate change?

We have set ourselves the world-class challenge of making all new homes zero-carbon by 2016. That has put us at the forefront of what we can do with housing and the built environment. Eco-towns, our zero-carbon challenge and our work across Government on climate change put us in a good place to get on top of the issue, so that the Government can lead and we can facilitate and enable local authorities and businesses—and the public, who also want to do the right thing—to play their parts.