Sustainability Criteria

North West Bicester is the only eco town in the UK that adheres to the Government’s Planning Policy Statement 1.

The Government’s Planning Policy Statement 1 states that eco towns must meet the following criteria:

Zero carbon

Over a year the net carbon dioxide emissions from all energy use within the buildings on the eco-town development as a whole are zero or below. The initial planning application and all subsequent planning applications for the development of the eco-town should demonstrate how this will be achieved. The definition of zero carbon applies to the whole development rather than individual buildings.

Climate change adaptation

Eco-towns should be sustainable communities that are resilient to and appropriate for the change in climate that is now accepted as inevitable. They should be planned to minimise future vulnerability in a changing climate, and with both mitigation and adaptation in mind.


Must achieve Building for Life Silver Standard and minimum Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, meet lifetime homes standard and space standards, have real time energy monitoring systems, provide for at least 30% affordable housing, demonstrate high energy efficiency in the fabric of the building.


Travel in eco-towns should be designed so that access to it and through it gives priority to options such as walking, cycling and public transport.

Green infrastructure

40% of the eco-town total area should be allocated to green space, of which at least half should be public.


Eco-towns should show a net gain in biodiversity.


Eco-towns should be ambitious in terms of water efficiency particularly in areas of serious water stress and should contribute to further improvement of water quality.