Eco-town expert panel named

A panel of 12 experts has been appointed to advise the shortlisted applicants hoping to build new eco-towns in the UK.

An eclectic mix of designers, planning experts, and environmental campaigners are among the members of the Eco-town Challenge panel named by Government ministers.

The announcement follows publication earlier this month of the shortlist of 15 locations that could house the new zero-carbon developments.

Ministers hope the panel will encourage shortlisted applicants to refine and improve their proposals before final approval is given for up to ten developments to be built by 2020.

The panel will examine issues such as using resources efficiently, designing houses people will want to live in, and encouraging more use of public transport.

It will publish recommendations to each bidder on how they could improve their vision for eco-towns development.

Housing minister Caroline Flint said: “We need more homes in this country and we need greener homes, and eco-towns present an opportunity we cannot afford to miss to combine both.

“I would like to thank these members of the Eco-town Challenge for agreeing to play such a tough but vital role in the development of eco-towns.”

However, the panel members do not include any experts on biodiversity or wildlife.

The Wildlife Trusts has previously accused Government of failing to consider ecology in its eco-towns policy.

Commenting on the announcement of the panel of experts, Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, told edie: “The government needs to do more to put the eco into eco-town.

“Incorporating natural environmental considerations into their siting and design will be crucial in living up to this aspiration, but the list of appointees show they have yet to appreciate the significance of this.

“To demonstrate they want these towns to be truly ecological, they should appoint someone with proven experience of incorporating wildlife into built developments. The Wildlife Trusts would be happy to recommend such experts.”

The experts will be:

  • John Walker, former chief executive of the British Urban Regeneration Association
  • Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP
  • Stephen Hale, director of the Green Alliance
  • Sir Peter Hall, president of the Town and Country Planning Association
  • Wayne Hemingway, designer and founder of Red or Dead
  • Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport
  • Nick Mabey, chief executive of E3G
  • Kris Murrin, TV presenter and sustainable transport expert
  • Sunand Prasad, president-elect of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Liz Reason, director of Reasons to Be Cheerful consultancy
  • Sue Riddlestone, director of BioRegional Development Group
  • Joanna Yarrow, TV presenter and founder of sustainability company Beyond Green
  • Kate Martin

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