Eco-towns? A valid showcase for future sustainable development, but even with the increased rates of new build sought by the government, estimates suggest that 90% of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built.

Surely, then, tackling the existing housing stock, which counts for 27% of carbon emissions, should be the priority.

Rising energy bills also make it clear that tackling climate change by reducing our energy use can be good for our pocket as well as the planet. In this time of economic downturn a major push on retrofitting and refurbishment will open up new market opportunities that would benefit those companies otherwise struggling to keep their heads above water.

Eco-towns are less the great hope, and more the great white elephant. At least so far it is just one and not a herd

Paul Roche

Eco-towns are less the great hope, and more great white elephant, but at least so far it is just the one and not a herd.

Paul Roche, director of sustainable products, SIG