Edinburgh and Glasgow have been named among the top 10 greenest cities in the UK, according to a new study.

Both cities ranked highly on the shortlist, which is based on NatWest’s Green Cities Report, with Edinburgh coming second only to Sheffield and Glasgow, which is the host city for COP26, placing in seventh.

Greenspace, car and energy use, waste and recycling, and air quality were all considered to be key factors in the report with analysts assessing 17 separate sets of environmental data in their comprehensive study.

Edinburgh was picked out as second due to being visually the greenest city with the equivalent of 233.3m2 area of green space per head, as well as having the lowest numbers of car commuters and a high percentage of ULEZ vehicles.

Leading expert for the report, Professor William Powrie from the University of Southampton, said: “The key message from NatWest’s Green Cities Report is that we can and must all contribute to making our towns and cities as green as possible, so it could not have come at a more appropriate moment.

“The list will enable cities and people to reflect on their progress towards behaving sustainably. Simple changes can make a big difference - walking, cycling or using public transport rather than going by car, using less and recycling more; but we all need to get involved.”

“It’s great to see Sheffield scooping the accolade of the UK’s Greenest City, with schemes like their Grey to Green campaign creating high quality green recreational and active transport corridors, helping people behave more sustainably in their daily lives, and benefitting the city’s environmental trajectory.”

Natwest's Green cities report

The top 25 greenest cities in the UK
The top 25 greenest cities in the UK

The NatWest’s Green Cities Report was produced in conjunction with experts from the University of Southampton.

Commissioned as part of the bank’s climate strategy to support UK consumers in going greener, the research marks the launch of carbon footprint tracking on NatWest’s banking app - a first for a UK bank - in association with climate data experts CoGo.

CEO of retail banking at Natwest, David Lindberg, said: “It’s great to see cities like Sheffield and Edinburgh leading the way when it comes to creating a greener environment.

“We are extremely excited to be launching carbon footprint tracking in association with CoGo as a UK banking first. It empowers customers to manage their own carbon footprint, helping them to make small changes that can add up and help tackle climate change.

“We want to help set and raise the standards that the rest of the banking industry should follow.

“COP26 is an extraordinary opportunity for the UK to lead the world in tackling climate change.

“We are very proud of our partnership with COP26 which further highlights our determination to be the leader in the transition to a low carbon economy across the financial services industry.”

How they were ranked

Considered to be the most comprehensive study of its type to date, the UK's 25 biggest cities by population were analysed and ranked using a range of environmental data.

17 were considered and weighted all in all, with cities ranked based on their scores of six overall categories: greenspace, energy use/production, motor vehicles, waste and recycling, commuting travel, and pollution.

The top 25 Greenest cities in the UK

  1. Sheffield
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Cardiff
  4. Brighton & Hove
  5. Bristol
  6. Leeds
  7. Glasgow
  8. Nottingham
  9. Newcastle upon Tyne
  10. Belfast
  11. London
  12. Salford
  13. Manchester
  14. Derby
  15. Wakefield
  16. Liverpool
  17. Plymouth
  18. Bradford
  19. Stoke-on-Trent
  20. Birmingham
  21. Hull
  22. Leicester
  23. Coventry
  24. Sunderland
  25. Wolverhampton

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