Housing minister to invest £10m in improving skills, back second wave of eco-towns and overhaul three planning policies

Housing and planning minister John Healey has announced a green overhaul for planning rules to cut emissions and bills.

About £10m will also be granted to improve green skills and backing will be given to a second wave of eco-towns.

Three planning policies have been overhauled, giving councils the latest targets and guidance to address climate change.

The policies, entitled Climate Change, Natural Environment and Coastal Change, will give councils a green planning rulebook, so new sustainable developments are planned and built with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and with the future climate in mind.

Healey has granted £10m to help the councils become what he labelled “green champions” to update the knowledge needed to develop sustainable housing and energy sources in their areas.

Two new areas have also been added to the proposed second wave of eco-towns, which were originally announced in December. East Devon council and Fareham council have expressed an interest in using eco-town standards for new settlements in their area.

The bids will need to meet the pioneering green standards set out in the eco-towns planning policy statement published last July. This will be subject to widespread public consultation and local planning approval before going ahead.

John Healey said: “Overhauled planning policies will act as a new green planning rulebook and the £10m for councils will provide training to help deliver action on the ground.

“The tougher, better guidelines for planning give councils a new blueprint, reflecting the latest targets and ensuring councils put combating climate change at the heart of future development.”

A consultation has also been launched today for the new climate change planning policy to ensure new developments are built in the right places, to ensure where people live and work helps to cut greenhouse gas emissions.