Stephen Stone, chief executive of Crest Nicholson, has said land values must drop by an average of 14% to enable eco-friendly schemes to stack up.

He estimated that a housing development built to a zero carbon standard, as envisaged by the government, would cost 14% more than an average estate and expressed doubt over whether consumers would pay the price. He speculated that the gap would have to be bridged by a fall in land values.

Stone made the comments last week during a presentation at the Thames Gateway Forum.