The government has given the green light to a sustainability code for new homes in the Thames Gateway

The government is to introduce tough new sustainability targets for new homes by 2006. The standards will be contained in a new sustainability code, which will cover energy and water efficiency, waste and use of materials.

The code will cover buildings in the new sustainable communities and could extend to all government procured buildings.

The government said it has set up a project group to establish the main criteria of the code. This group will work with local authorities and developers to establish demonstration schemes in the Thames Gateway, which will help the government to make a full regulatory impact assessment of the code.

Secretary of State for the Department for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt said: "The aim to build better buildings, and tackle the key environmental issues of greenhouse emissions and waste, is clearly one which Government and Industry must work together on."

The code was a key recommendation in a report published by the Sustainable Buildings Task Group in May. It called for tough recycling targets to be included in the code and demanded a 25% improvement in energy efficiency and a 25% cut in water usage for new homes.

The first version of the code will be published before the Sustainable Communities Summit in January 2005.