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19 Nov 2007 03:11:54

Eco-towns an ''easy option'' for government

Government plans to build a series of eco-towns are avoiding the real issues relating to energy-efficient housing, according to a building trade association.

Proposals to build ''green developments'' of up to 20,000 do not address the more pressing concern of making existing buildings more energy efficient, warned Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders.

Instead of building environmentally-friendly new housing, he called for measures to encourage homeowners to make their properties greener and reduce their carbon impact.

Mr Berry said: "We think that the government is taking the easy option…the challenge is what you will do with the existing stock; that''s where the real problem is, and that''s more complicated."

"Why don''t we look at lower stamp duty for energy efficient homes, reduced council tax for green homes…That would really encourage everyone," he added.

Up to 45 local councils have already put forward proposals for new homes and jobs under the government''s New Growth Points programme, some of which include plans for new settlements.ADNFCR-1235-ID-18360646-ADNFCR

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