How “green” is your city center?  The best and worst in Britain ranked |  Climate News

How “green” is your city center? The best and worst in Britain ranked | Climate News

Exeter topped a list of city centers in Britain based on its ‘green’ credentials, including trees and parks.

The city is followed by Islington, Bristol, Bournemouth and Cambridge, according to a study by the University of Sheffield.

Meanwhile, Glasgow has been rated the least “green” city center by the study’s criteria, with Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds making up the bottom five.

Glasgow, Scotland - A view of the famous steep Gardner Street in Glasgow's West End.
Glasgow came bottom of the list, but the local council rejects the search

Scientists looked at 68 places across England, Scotland and Wales – with populations of at least 100,000 – ranking them on tree cover, vegetation and parkland in town centers .

Exeter at
University of Sheffield researchers have ranked Britain’s ‘greenest’ city centers

While previous studies have looked at the “greenness” of entire cities, including suburban areas, this is the first to focus specifically on city cores.

Islington was the second ‘greenest’

Dr Paul Brindley, from the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture, said: “By 2050 almost 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in towns and cities”, adding that green spaces “enhance people’s well-being and are essential for biodiversity“.

The five most “green” city centers are in the south of Britain, while the five least green city centers are in the north. Dr Brindley said this “clearly highlights the need to urgently improve the greenness of city centers at the bottom of the list”.

The research – published in the journal Plos One – also found a link between a lower “green” score and higher levels of deprivation.

But not everyone agrees with the study, including Glasgow – which was ranked bottom.

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have ranked Britain’s ‘greenest’ city centers

The ten “greenest” urban city centers:

1: Exeter



4. Bournemouth



7. Ealing

8. Sutton Coldfield



Ten least “green” urban city centers:






6. Basildon



9. Hudderfield

10. Worth It

A City Council spokesperson told Sky News: “The very specific and narrow metrics used in this report do not paint a true picture of green space and trees in the city centre.

“The city has a well-deserved reputation as a place with lots of green space, with 20% of the city’s land being exactly that.”

More from Sky News:
Every household in Wales donated a free tree
Getting closer to parks improves children’s lungs
COP27: Breakthrough at a chaotic summit

History also plays an important role in the ranking of certain places, as the research looked at urban centers – the center of work, leisure and shopping – and not primarily the suburbs where people live.

Liverpool were ranked third from bottom

Many sites in northern Britain developed around trade, commerce and industry, which shaped their town centres, but workers often lived in the suburbs and had access to green spaces.

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