Eco-town's green benefit exaggerated, ASA rules

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The Independent Online

The Government has admitted exaggerating the environmental credentials of a planned eco-town.

In an advert seeking the public's views on 5,000 proposed homes near Lichfield in Staffordshire, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) claimed the development would be built on a brownfield site. But the department later admitted that most of the Curborough eco-town would swallow up open countryside.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint about the Government's claims. But it dismissed a complaint about claims in the advert that up to half of the development would be affordable housing. Although no decision had been made, the ASA said the Government has promised that between 30 and 50 per cent of eco-towns will be affordable housing.

The Government announced 15 potential sites for eco-towns with environmental features such as cycle lanes in April. Developers pulled out of the Curborough eco-town in July, following fierce local opposition.

The ASA said: "The DCLG acknowledged that the documentation was factually inaccurate and the majority of the proposed site was on greenfield land and only partly on the site of the former Fradley airfield. They believed an error had been made in preparing the consultation document, which was repeated in the subsequent ad."