London (UK) Plans Sustainable Thousand-Home "Eco-Estate"

Courtesy of Wendy A.:

Livingstone plans 1,000-home eco-estate

Matt Weaver

Thursday April 13, 2006

The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, set out plans today to build Britain's biggest eco-development in east London, modelled on a sustainable city being planned in China.

The London scheme will involve at least 1,000 homes, which will be
powered entirely by renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic
panels, wind turbines and the burning of waste.

It is being worked up by Greenpeace, the London Development Agency and
Peter Head, a director of the engineering firm Arup. Mr Head is in
charge of the Dongtan development in China, at the mouth of the Yangtse
river, which is described as the world's first sustainable city and
could house 80,000 people by 2020.

Mr Livingstone made the announcement in Shanghai, while inspecting plan
for Dongtan. He said: "London's zero-emissions development will
demonstrate that we can also realise this kind of vision in Europe and
that it is affordable and achievable to make all major new developments
low-carbon." Speaking from Shanghai, Mr Head said the London scheme could be completed as early as 2010.

"The idea is to demonstrate that a zero-carbon development can be a viable commercial proposition," he said.

But he admitted that the land for the scheme would have to come either from the government or a "willing developer".

The London Development Agency is drawing up a shortlist of sites in the Thames Gateway.

The project also involves Bill Dunster, the architect behind the ultra-green BedZED estate in Sutton, Surrey, which at 84 homes is Britain's largest zero-energy development to date.

Mr Head said: "The objective of this development will be the same [as
BedZED] but the scale will be much larger. It will be at least 1,000
homes, and possibly more. With scale comes the opportunity to make the
most of renewable technology."

Greenpeace's climate and energy campaigner, Jim Footner, said: "The idea is to set the benchmark for new building in this country, which at the moment is lagging way behind standards in other countries.

"Even with improvements to building regulations, homes in this country
are 60% less energy efficient than they have to be in Sweden."

The project is likely to get enthusiastic backing from the deputy prime
minister, John Prescott, who is struggling to maintain momentum for his
plan to build 200,000 homes in the Thames Gateway.

A recent study by the Institute for Public Policy Research found that
people are likely to shun the area, fearing it will be full of boring
houses with no sense of community.