Eco-towns offer an exciting opportunity to provide desperately needed new homes for families and first time buyers, in a way that is consistent with our climate change objections. Eco-towns must have at least 30 per cent. affordable housing, but I am keen to see if we can achieve even more with some developments pushing towards 50 per cent.
We have received almost 60 bids for EcoTowns across the country. We have been rigorously assessing these bids, particularly against tough criteria on environmental and transport standards. I will soon be publishing a shortlist of proposals. There will then be a full public consultation.
We have received almost 60 expressions of interest and are now carrying out an initial sift across Government and their agencies. This will give a preliminary indication of the sustainability and infrastructure aspects of these schemes in relation to the criteria set out in the Eco-towns Prospectus, including their approach to transport and the environment. We are also contacting local authorities and regional bodies, in areas where schemes look to have good potential and we will then publish a shortlist for consultation. We expect to publish this shortlist in the near future for extensive consultation with the public, wider stakeholders and local authorities.