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Build back better: build back greener

  • by JW

“Are the government’s plans for ‘garden communities’ as environmentally-friendly as they sound?”

“How could developers be encouraged to build in a way which incorporates nature?”


The government wants to build, build, build:

“We will build, build, build: build back better, build back greener, build back faster.”

PM Economy Speech: 30 June 2020 – GOV.UK

The ‘planning revolution’ in house building – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Exeter wants to build ‘garden communities’:

“Garden Communities” for Exeter – Vision Group for Sidmouth

How ‘liveable’ and how ‘green’ is the Exeter Garden City project? – Vision Group for Sidmouth


But will all these plans be ‘greener’ than previous housing developments?


Transport for New Homes says that the new ‘garden communities’ will simply create more car traffic:

New garden towns ‘unsuitable’ for cycling and walking | General News

Garden Communities Archives – Transport for New Homes

Car-dependency Archives – Transport for New Homes


So-called ‘zombie road schemes’ can now be activated together with new housing developments:

New UK housing ‘dominated by roads’ – BBC News


The government is looking to Ebenezer Howard’s model of ‘garden cities’:

Garden city movement – Wikipedia

Welwyn Garden City celebrates centenary in 2020 – BBC News


But the reality is rather different:

Garden villages locking-in car dependency, says report – BBC News

Garden towns and villages: Visions and reality


And these housing policies contradict zero-carbon targets:

Building millions of new homes with a zero-carbon target is a contradiction – Property Industry Eye


So, for ‘green space’ and ‘biodiversity net gain’, how can ‘green infrastructure’ and ‘building greener’ be put at the heart of new developments?


The key is ‘building with nature’:

About — Building with Nature

How to Build Infrastructure the Sustainable Way

Building with Nature certification scheme, UK – Inside Ecology


This week’s Costing the Earth on Radio 4 was in Bristol and looked at the issues:


Build, Build, Build

With an ever greater demand for more housing, and Boris Johnson calling for the country to “build buld bulid” post lockdown, Peter Gibbs looks at current trends in house-building. Are the government’s plans for “garden communities” as environmentally-friendly as they sound? And how could developers be encouraged to build in a way which incorporates nature rather than squeezing it out?

Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Emma Campbell.

BBC Radio 4 – Costing the Earth, Build, Build, Build