The second phase of English Partnerships’ (EP) Design for Manufacture competition – dubbed the Carbon Challenge – is calling for green and affordable housing communities.

Developments will have to meet at least level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which stipulates zero carbon emissions for elements controlled by the Building Regulations.

“We know that it’s both commercially and technically feasible to reach level 5 and 6 of the Code using timber frame in volume housebuilding,” said Stewart Dalgarno, chairman of the UKTFA.

While he admitted that it was possible to achieve energy and water-efficient new homes without using timber, Mr Dalgarno said: “It seems completely daft that such homes should be built using other, more polluting materials that have such a high environmental impact.

“Timber has the lowest carbon cost of any mainstream building material, even allowing for transport.”

He wants EP and other judges in the competition to give greater recognition to “truly sustainable building products”.

“In this way, we believe high quality, low and zero carbon homes can become a mainstream reality well before 2016,” added Mr Dalgarno.