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A lack of expertise in sustainable development will force councils to work together in order to meet the government's climate change goals.

Announcing the launch of the Department for Communities and Local Government's consultation document on building 'zero-carbon' homes today, secretary of state Ruth Kelly said that lack of capacity in local government was a real issue.

'We must look at how local authorities can work together to pool their expertise,' she said.

John Calcutt, chief executive of English Partnerships, said: 'We can help provide skills and expertise to local authorities to manage this process.'

Unveiling a package of measures to slash carbon emissions and make new homes more energy efficient, Ms Kelly called for England to be the first country in the world to deliver zero carbon homes.

In his pre-Budget report, chancellor Gordon Brown pledged that by 2016, all new homes would make no net production of carbon dioxide over the course of a year.

Ms Kelly's speech

But the Liberal Democrats said that new homes were only a 'very small part of the problem'.

Cutting the million tonnes of carbon dioxide produced a year from powering new homes will mean little unless the 149 million tonnes produced by existing homes each year can be cut, said shadow local government secretary Andrew Stunnell.

Consultation document Building a Greener Future: Towards Zero Carbon Development

LGC story Zero-carbon plans under fire

Housing, planning & environment

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