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The UK's greenest Towns and Cities

Becoming more environmentally friendly is a worldwide effort, with cities and towns at the forefront of making the world greener. But which areas here in the UK are succeeding the most?

Using local and regional data on things like recycling, air quality and green spaces, we’ve found the UK towns and cities which are the most environmentally conscious.

Taking all of the factors into account, Bristol came out as the UK’s greenest city, scoring highly for recycling and air quality and number one when it came to eco-friendly Google searches, with 47 per 10,000 people.

The city was also named the European Green Capital for 2015 by the European Commission and has committed hundreds of millions of pounds to tackle climate change in recent years.

Each of the UK’s four nations was represented in the top five, with Edinburgh coming second, Belfast taking third and Cardiff in the fourth spot.

Taking a look at how the top ten breaks down geographically, we can see that the greenest towns and cities are fairly evenly spread around the UK.

Notably, however, London failed to crack the top ten in any category, scoring poorly on each of the four factors that we looked at.

The UK’s greenest towns and cities ranked

Below, you can see the full ranking of the UK’s greenest towns and cities based on their recycling and air quality statistics, number of parks and green-related Google searches.

Peter Earl, Head of Energy at said

“It's clear that the climate, renewable energy and sustainability is a huge focus right now - and so it should be. We should all be putting combined effort into finding the best eco-friendly solutions. Surrounding ourselves with green space and changing our actions towards energy is a way to improve wellbeing as well as having benefits for the environment and future living circumstances. One in seven households (14%) have already switched to greener tariffs, whilst a third are thinking of switching to one; this shows that we are progressing, but still have some way to go.”

Brought to you by our energy experts.

The data includes both regional and local data, with the local data counting for more of the overall ranking.

  • Parks per 10,000 population:
    This the availability of outdoor space. The number of parks were taken from each local authority website.
  • Recycling:
    This is the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting for each city. The data was sourced from Waste Data Flow.
  • Air quality:
    This is an annual average of pollutants in the region: the higher the score, the worse the air quality. This is a score out of ten. The data was sourced from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.
  • Searches:
    Taking two popular search terms, we found the number of Google searches each city has per 10,000 population. These terms were “recycling centre” and “electric car”.


  • The rankings are weighted toward recycling and search data, as they include local data that indicates local population intent to be green and their actions in doing so.
  • Recycling Data for Scotland & Wales is regional, not local.