A green city aims to be sustainable and minimise its environmental impact through eco-friendly initiatives, such as green spaces and sustainable infrastructures such as cycle lanes and clean, affordable public transport. Sustainable cities are also concerned with providing a healthy, happy environment for the people living there, with safe streets and clean air. Green cities are one way in which we can begin to tackle the climate change crisis. Here are five of the greenest cities in the UK.
Nicknamed the Steel City, Sheffield was once known for its cutlery trade but is now one of the UK’s greenest cities. With around 22,600 acres of green areas, 250 parks and around 4.5 million trees, Sheffield boasts more trees per person than any other European city.
Sheffield is also leading the way when it comes to the use of renewable energy and has numerous sites that generate renewable electricity for the city’s residents and businesses. The University of Sheffield is also at the forefront of research aiming to tackle major issues such as climate change and address the problem of world hunger.
The city of Norwich is home to residents with the most sustainable fashion choices. Women’s skirts retailer, Damart UK surveyed 2,000 Brits to investigate their attitudes toward sustainable fashion choices and found that Norwich has just 2,424 people per charity shop. The results also showed that 69% of Norwich residents have greener approaches to their clothing choices, with many people choosing to buy secondhand clothing and donate their unused clothing to charity shops or utilise local clothing recycling banks. Residents also had fewer items of unworn clothing in their wardrobes.
Other close contenders for the city making the most sustainable fashion choices in 2022 were Stoke-on-Trent (68%) and Newcastle and Newport both with 67% of residents making green choices. Notably, Newport residents were found to only spend an average of £214 on new clothing per year.
The Scottish city of Glasgow is another of the UK’s greenest cities, with an emphasis on sustainability and environmentally conscious tourism. The city ranks as one of the top ten in the country for its amount of green space, with 90 parks and riverside and canal-side walks. You also don’t have to go far from the city centre to enjoy the beautiful Scottish scenery with woodlands, castle ruins and cycling trails to explore.
Many of the city’s hotels are certified by Green Tourism and community-based tourism is also hugely important to Glasgow, allowing visitors to give back to the local community through tourism initiatives such as group tours exploring Glasgow’s historical sites or street art. Glasgow has a thriving food scene and many of its restaurants offer menus that include plant-based or locally sourced ingredients.
Bristol was ranked as the most sustainable UK city in 2021. The UK’s first cycling city, Bristol offers many traffic-free cycling routes as well as plenty of secure places to store your bike during your travels through the city. Bristol also boasts many vegan restaurants and second-hand shops, as well as city farms and over 3,000 acres of nature reserve sites protected by Avon Wildlife Trust.
Leeds in West Yorkshire is another UK city leading the way to net zero carbon emissions. The council is aiming for Leeds to become a zero-carbon city by 2030 and to protect its residents from the impact of climate change. They are focusing their efforts on sustainable infrastructure and integrated, accessible, low-emissions transport systems. The city’s plans also include the development of the existing Leeds Bradford Airport and making it as sustainable as possible.