When considering these surveys, perhaps look a bit closer at the facts. Go back a couple of years and you had people claiming their homes were carbon neutral - they had paid for carbon offsets! In fact their homes / houses were no more carbon neutral than the one next door! One that I saw that claimed this distinction had a heated conservatory!

So, this survey. I live in Kent and am not aware of any great increase in environmentally friendly houses. Certainly the only newsworthy part of the new developments that we see going up in Sittingbourne is how incredibly shoddy they are, or they are built on flood plains, have subsidence etc.

As to eco-friendliness, I wonder if this is due to a campaign that was run by Mid Kent Water (before the merger) when they had a promotion for beneath cost price water butts during the drought in 2005/6. There were ten times as many sold that year! While I would agree a water butt is a good thing, with only 200 litres stored it is rather meagre in the scale of eco-friendly additions to a house and really shouldn't be compared to the installation of extra insulation, solar panels, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps!

Conversely it might be that the rainwater harvesting refers to installed systems that feed the flush and almost all garden watering. I have this and know how rare it is.

So, Kent scores well on this eco-homes survey simply due to a drought 4 years ago and a water company that sold cheap water butts!

Simon Mallett, Solarkent