Make existing homes greener, says McCloud
The Government should concentrate on the UK's 26 million existing homes instead of its plans for controversial eco-towns, Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud said today.
The 51-year-old television presenter said it was "a lot less energy and it's a lot less effort to work on the existing housing stock rather than tear it all down and build again".
He was speaking ahead of a Government announcement on Thursday which is expected to significantly scale down its plans for eco-towns.
Mr McCloud said: "Eco-towns are nothing if people commute to work, and you've got to make them a place where people live and stay and base their lives.
"We need to concentrate on the 26 million existing homes that we've got in this country that are responsible for about 27% of carbon emissions."
He urged the Government to kick-start a green refurbishment programme for UK homes by tackling poorly insulated, inefficient housing stock, creating the potential to reduce homeowners' energy bills.
The Committee on Climate Change estimated that by retrofitting existing housing stock, nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved - the equivalent to the average CO2 output of more than 1.5 million homes per year.
The market for green refurbishment and improvement could be worth between £3.5 billion and £6.5 billion per year and thousands of new jobs could be created, the Federation of Master Builders said.
Research by the Energy Saving Trust also found Britons could save on average £300 a year on household bills by being more energy efficient and improving heating and insulation in the home.
The expected climb-down on the controversial eco-towns follows criticism from Tories, environmental groups and residents in the areas affected amid concerns over impacts on the planning system, transport links, jobs provision, the environmental impacts of the sites and whether they can actually deliver the green, affordable housing that is promised.
The environmentally-friendly new towns were the first major policy announced by Gordon Brown as he launched his bid to take over as Prime Minister in 2007 and the idea was expanded from five towns to 10 in September 2007 following an initial positive response.
But even before the initial shortlist of 15 possible towns was unveiled in April, communities were marching against sites they believed had been earmarked by developers or councils for the new eco-town settlements.
Many protesters were concerned that several of the plans thought to have been submitted were on sites where conventional developments had failed to get off the ground.
High profile opponents of various schemes around the country have included actress Judi Dench, author Jilly Cooper and tennis star Tim Henman's father Tony Henman.
The eco-towns, intended to tackle the twin problems of housing shortages and climate change, have to be carbon zero as a whole, be an "exemplar" in one area of environmental development and have at least 30% affordable housing.
Up to 10 are proposed, with five being built by 2016 and a further five by 2020.
It is expected the Government will announce just three or four of the new towns on Thursday.
Mammoth ivory trade: Should the prehistoric species be protected – to save the elephant?
Solar power: Subsidy cut will stop one million buildings installing rooftop panels
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
Nasa says sea levels have risen faster than thought due to climate change
Climate change: July was the Earth's hottest month on record – while 2015 could be the warmest year, scientists say
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...