Councils in Thames Gateway to bid for 'eco-quarter' cash

Local authorities in the Thames Gateway are to bid for funding to create an "eco-quarter" that must contain multi-functional green infrastructure as a priority.

Communities & Local Government has launched a consultation into plans for the eco-quarter, which will contain 2,000 homes and be a sustainability exemplar.

One of the main objectives the Government wants the eco-quarter to address is to demonstrate how "health, well-being and quality-of-life benefits can be achieved from well-planned green infrastructure".

The quarter needs to be recognisable as an area of innovation and climate change adaptation, with examples of technology such as green roofs and walls.

A consultation into the plans will run until 8 January 2010 and responses will be published in February. Local authorities will then be able to bid for a £150,000 grant from the Homes & Communities Agency to implement proposals by March 2011. The money can be used for staff and consultants to draw up detailed plans and identify other sources of funding.

Thames Gateway minister Shahid Malik said: "Addressing the threat from climate change is an immediate priority for this Government. That's why establishing an eco-quarter that can test new technologies and initiatives in a mixed-environment area of homes and businesses is important. Increasing the energy and eco-performance of existing buildings will cut emissions and running costs."

Proposals are expected to include ways of reducing water use and waste, managing flood risk and creating biodiverse parks and green spaces that will support less car use by increasing the number of people cycling and walking and providing more opportunities for sport.

"The benefits of providing this exemplar of sustainable living will not only benefit people in the Thames Gateway (but) will be felt much wider," added Malik.

- The consultation can be viewed at www.communities.gov.uk/publications/thamesgateway/ecoquarterconsultation


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