The south-east needs new eco-towns to help solve a housing shortage and fight global climate change.
According to Gideon Amos, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), society is creating an increasing number of households and developers should strive to be sustainable and eco-friendly.
"Eco-towns represent the first serious opportunity for development that does not harm the planet through CO2 and related emissions," he said.
He went on to explain that new towns should be designed to include 50 per cent affordable housing, strong public transport and appropriate integration into existing communities.
Developers of commercial property schemes have also embraced eco-design principles project designs now feature atriums, which draw natural light and sustainable materials, that help to reduce developers’ carbon footprints.
Mr Amos acknowledged that on some sites development would be unsustainable, however "protection of the most precious sites must go hand in hand with enhancing environmental quality wherever possible," he advised.