How ‘green’ is your city centre? The best and worst in Britain ranked | Climate news

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Exeter has topped a list of UK city centers based on its “green” credentials, including trees and parks.

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

Meanwhile, Glasgow was ranked the least “green” city center according to the survey’s criteria, with Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds making up the bottom five.

Glasgow, Scotland - View down the famously steep Gardner Street in Glasgow's West End.
Glasgow came at the bottom of the list, but the local council rejects the research

Researchers examined 68 sites in England, Scotland and Wales – with populations of at least 100,000 – and ranked them on tree cover, vegetation and parks in city centres.

Exeter has "greenest" city ​​center in Great Britain, according to new research based on tree cover, vegetation and the presence of parks, according to researchers at the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield.  They have produced a top ten list of the best and worst cities in the UK.  23/11/2022
Researchers at the University of Sheffield ranked the ‘greenest’ city centers in the UK

While previous studies have looked at the “greenness” of entire cities, including suburbs, this is the first to focus specifically on the heart of cities.

Islington was the second ‘greenest’

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

All five of the “greenest” city centers are in the south of the UK, while the five city centers with the least green attributes are in the north. Dr. Brindley said this “clearly highlights the need to urgently improve town centers at the bottom of the list”.

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

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

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have ranked the “greenest” city centers in the UK

Ten “greenest” city centres:

1: Exeter

2. Islington

3. Bristol

4. Bournemouth

5. Cambridge

6. Chelsea

7. Ealing

8. Sutton Coldfield

9. Richmond

10. Oxford

Ten least “green” city centers:

1. Glasgow

2. Leeds

3. Liverpool

4. Sheffield

5. Middlesborough

6. Basildon

7. Manchester

8. Cardiff

9. Huddersfield

10. Value

A city council spokesman told Sky News: “The very specific and narrow parameters used in this report do not give a fair picture of green spaces and trees in the city centre.

“The city has a well-deserved reputation as a place with a lot of green space, with 20% of the land in the city being just that.”

More from Sky News:
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History also plays an important factor in the ranking of some places, as the research examined city centers – the focus of work, leisure and shopping – and not predominantly suburbs where people live.

Liverpool were third from bottom

Many places in northern Britain grew 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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