Regeneration quango English Partnerships has agreed the sale of land for 400 homes across the north-west of England.
In the past four months it has sold 14 ha of land to housebuilders Bett, Miller, Morris and Persimmon. The sites are in towns in central Lancashire and Cheshire such as Runcorn and Warrington.

EP development manager Lance Houghton said: "We believe that the effort being channelled into these developments will create sustainable communities that will be the catalyst for future generations."

EP is also aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30% from property to be built on land it owns in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. Devised by BRE, the standards will be adopted by all EP's retail, office and industrial buildings in Peterborough.

Under the scheme a "very good" rating must be achieved for energy efficiency, transportation, pollution and water-use measures.

EP business development manager Paul Griffiths said: "Commercial developers are gradually switching to the idea that environmentally friendly properties can offer benefits that are very attractive to purchasers and tenants."