Housing Minister John Healey has announced £60m of funding to build 600 new homes to high environmental standards.
The ‘eco-show homes’ will be built in and around four eco-town locations: Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire. Nearly a third of these homes will be affordable.
Construction could also potentially create and support up to 2,000 local jobs, including apprenticeships to help advance new green building skills.
The homes will include smart meters to track energy use, electric car charging points, properly insulated homes built to the toughest ever standards and systems for saving water and recycling or composting waste.
The funding will also improve existing transport links, including rapid routes for buses with real-time travel information, green travel hubs and facilities for electric cars and bikes.
Funding will also be used for environmental education projects and boosting the energy efficiency of existing schools, including a new low carbon sixth form for the Cooper School in Bicester and retrofitting of primary schools and libraries in Whitehill-Bordon.
Housing Minister John Healey, said: "This is the start of the country’s biggest ever eco-home building programme. As a first step, 600 will be built in these four areas – most will be for sale but some will be permanent eco-show homes. By 2016 there will be 10,000 new eco homes in these four pioneering areas.”