A plan to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the Thames Gateway has been unveiled.

The scheme, which follows Building's 99% campaign to improve the energy of existing stock, was announced alongside plans to construct an “eco-quarter” in the region.

Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, said the communities department would ask for bids from councils to build a zero-carbon community.

The initiative is in addition to plans for 10 eco-towns. Cooper also unveiled a £500m funding package to assist development in the region, £15m of which will pay for improvements to the environmental performance of 5,000 existing homes.