Thousands of planned new council-built homes in Herefordshire will have to meet tough sustainability standards if proposals are approved next week.

Senior councillors will vote on whether to adopt recommendations of the Herefordshire Future Homes report, which the council commissioned as part of its drive to build up to 2,500 affordable net-zero homes in the county over the next 10 years.

“We will build warm and cosy homes, in healthy neighbourhoods with space for kids to play, space for nature, and provision of sustainable transport options,” the report says.

Among the proposed standards is “Passivhaus Plus”, which certifies that homes generate roughly as much renewable energy as they use, through a mix of high energy efficiency and integrated solar panels or other forms of renewable energy generation and storage.

“So a small additional upfront investment will pay for itself through lower long-term costs,” including not having a gas boiler to maintain or air conditioning units to power, the report says.

Meanwhile the airtight, triple-glazed design would also keep external noise to a minimum.

Also, pedestrian and cycles would be given priority in new neighbourhoods, which would have speed limits of 20mph or even 5mph in so-called homezones.

These features will help make net-zero homes worth more, meaning the council will get more from either renting or selling them, the report adds.

It also sets standards for retrofitting existing homes, and recommends planting one Herefordshire apple tree for each new home.