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Britain's first entirely green housing estate, complete with wind turbines and rainwater harvesting facilities, is to be built in London's Docklands.

Residents in the zero-carbon development will be able to grow their own food in community greenhouses, power their televisions with tree branches and compost their rubbish in sophisticated waste segregation facilities.

The estate, to be built on wasteland in the Royal Docks, in east London, will be powered by solar panels and wind turbines. Rainwater will be recycled to flush loos and water plants, and branches collected by tree surgeons around London will be delivered each month to heat and power the building.

The housing development, subsidised by Ken Livingstone's London Development Agency, will provide flats with their own allotments and roof terraces for growing vegetables. A cycle club and a car pool will operate to reduce carbon emissions. The flats will be constructed from sustainable wood, locally produced gravel and reclaimed concrete.

Work will begin next month. Half of the completed homes will be reserved for social housing while the other half will be sold at commercial rates.

A spokesman for the London Development Agency, which owns the land, said: "Traditionally the environment has been a middle-class concern. But the environment is as important for working-class families as for everyone else."

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "If we can demonstrate that these things can be done, we can inspire people to believe that averting global warming is not only possible but better for our standard of living."

- INDEPENDENT