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Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements apply to homes in eco-towns to be constructed at (a) Level 5 and (b) Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. (323300)

The Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns (PPS), that we published last July, sets out the standards that eco-towns must achieve. The primary focus is to set targets for innovation across the development as a whole, rather than an individual building approach, but it does include minimum performance levels for individual dwellings, including that they should meet at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

On energy efficiency and carbon, the PPS will require dwellings in eco-towns to demonstrate high levels of energy efficiency in the fabric of the building, having regard to proposals for standards to be incorporated into changes to the Building Regulations between now and 2016, and to meet at least 70 per cent. carbon reduction on site relative to Part L 2006 of the building regulations. This level of onsite carbon reduction is more demanding than Code level 4, is consistent with the zero carbon homes standard announced last year and will take effect significantly earlier than the general zero carbon homes requirement. In addition, over a year, the net carbon dioxide emissions from all energy use within the buildings on the eco-town development as a whole must be zero or below. This too is consistent with (and, depending on policy decisions to be made on allowable solutions for zero-carbon homes, may be more demanding than) the definition of Zero Carbon Homes which the Government have adopted for introduction in 2016.

The Eco-towns PPS includes a range of ambitious standards on other aspects of sustainability including high Code levels, for example in relation to water consumption, which taken together are the toughest standards ever required for new development. Copies of the PPS are available in the House Library.