Page last updated at 02:16 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Newcastle 'greenest' British city

Newcastle skyline
Newcastle was praised for emerging from its industrial past to go green

Newcastle upon Tyne has been named as Britain's greenest city in a think tank's annual study.

Forum for the Future looked at the sustainability of the 20 biggest cities, measuring factors such as air quality, wildlife and quality of life.

As well as greenest city, Newcastle was the overall most sustainable, beating 2008 winner Bristol into second.

Brighton and Hove came third, with Leicester fourth and London fifth. Edinburgh was seventh and Cardiff 10th.

Apart from environmental performance, the study measured indicators of quality of life and how well prepared the cities were for the future.

'Industrial heritage'

This involved looking at issues such as action on climate change and the vibrancy of the local economy.

1. Newcastle
2. Bristol
3. Brighton and Hove
4. Leicester
5. London
6. Leeds
7. Edinburgh
8. Nottingham
9. Sheffield
10. Cardiff

Newcastle topped the environmental rankings, which included measures on air quality, wildlife and residents' "ecological footprint" - the amount of land it takes to provide them with food, transport, housing, goods and services.

It also performed well in quality of life measures such as life expectancy and education, plus its planning for the future, to rise overall in the table from fourth last year and eighth place in 2007.

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, said: "Cities with an industrial heritage face genuine challenges, but Newcastle's success shows that it is possible to overcome the legacy of the past and perform well on many measures of sustainability.

"We hope it will inspire other cities to redouble their efforts."

'Ecological footprint target'

Edinburgh slipped down one place in the rankings, compared with last year, to seventh overall. However, it came top in education, employment and air quality.

Meanwhile, Cardiff fell from fifth to 10th in the league table and dropped from third to 18th on environmental performance.

Plymouth fell from third to 12th overall.

Hull came 20th, but Forum for the Future said that on the sustainability table its best results had been in the areas of planning for the future.

It said this suggested improvements in other sectors could be close.

The report warned that there was still a need for cities to reduce the average "ecological footprint" from its current level of five hectares per person to two hectares in order to prevent Britain's biggest cities using up more resources than the planet could sustain.

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