A green plan to power new homes by sun, wind and water have been derailed by the Government.

Brighton and Hove City Council wanted to introduce new building guidelines so any development of three or more homes had to be carbon neutral.

But the pioneering policy, which is currently under consultation, will now have to be redrawn after a ruling by officials in Whitehall.

Councillors have expressed concern that meeting the Government diktat could severely delay the plan leading to hundreds of homes being given the go-ahead without the new measures.

Green party councillor Paul Steedman, who is a member of the council's sustainability commission, said: "We want to spearhead strict stipulations for energy efficiency and renewable power for all new buildings.

"If these were to be adopted as a new standard we could be talking about Brighton and Hove making a real contribution to tackling climate change.

"It is appalling to think that our Government, which makes so much noise about tackling climate change, should be the very one to force us to delay or water down our plans."

The planning policy, which is at the forefront of ecological thinking, was approved by councillors in September and was put out to consultation.

Under the scheme every new building project would be required to cut at least a quarter of its overall heating and electricity consumption from fossil fuels.

Any development of more than three homes would have to ensure that the overall project was carbon neutral in terms of energy use.

This means that if the development was to create CO2, it must be offset by making other properties more environmentally friendly at a cost of up to £2,500 per tonne of the greenhouse gas.

With 11,000 new homes to be built across Brighton and Hove in the next 20 years, these new planning guidelines would produce millions of pounds in payoffs to improve current homes in Brighton and Hove that are 10 years old or more.

New housing developments would also have to contribute towards the planting of 64,000 new trees the council wants to see introduced across the city in the next 50 years.

But all these measures, including in a supplementary planning document, will now have to be redrafted.

The Government has ruled that directives for cutting energy and water consumption can no longer be included in these reports but must be outlined in development plan documents, which generally take longer to produce and to be agreed.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said it had told the city council to change its plans to ensure its long-term approach to house building remained stable.

He said: "We want councils to do more to back local green energy and the new planning rules set out stronger environmental requirements for local authorities putting tackling climate change at the heart of the planning system for the first time.

"Planning strategies must be long term and now they must be tested on their low carbon ambition."

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, the chairman of the council's environment committee, said: "As a council we want to encourage the use of sustainable building methods wherever possible and would not welcome another layer of bureaucracy that would make it harder for developers, architects and home owners who want to contribute to reducing the city's carbon footprint."