Bristol crowned greenest UK city

| 12th March 2020
New online tool compares the sustainability of each major UK city.


Bristol is the most environmentally-friendly city in the UK, whilst Birmingham has been named and shamed as the least eco-friendly, a new study has revealed.

The research, conducted by Good Move, a regulated property buyer, ranked UK cities based on a variety of sustainability factors, before taking an average score to produce a leaderboard.

Bristol came out on top in three of the five ranking categories, outperforming all other cities with regards to carbon emissions, recycling rates and gas consumption.


The city’s residents recycle or compost almost half (47 percent) of their household waste - 6 percent more than anywhere else - and Bristol is the only city in the UK to consume less than 3,000 kw/h of gas a year.

These habits saw Bristol crowned the UK’s first-ever European Green Capital in 2015 and Good Move’s research shows this sustainable culture is still flourishing.

Edinburgh took the second spot, mainly due to the large areas of publicly available green space. With 49 hectares, Edinburgh has more than any other UK city. Another Scottish city – Glasgow – came second in this category, with 32 hectares.

At the other end of the scale, Birmingham was named the least environmentally-friendly city, largely because of its poor recycling and emission statistics.

Brummies only recycle 22 percent of their waste - the lowest in the UK - and only London has worse carbon emission and gas consumption figures. The five most environmentally-friendly UK cities are Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, and Bradford.


London fares poorly in most categories. In fact, the capital produces more carbon emissions (29,709 tonnes) and consumes more gas (61,546 kw/h) than the other nine major cities combined.

Ross Counsell, Director at Good Move, said: “The world is finally waking up to the dangers of climate change and the impact that our lifestyles are having on the planet.

“Our research has highlighted which UK cities are particularly guilty of being unsustainable, while also praising those who are taking steps to address the issues. However, progress can only be made if the country works together as a whole, making informed changes on a national scale.”

This Author 

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Good Move. 


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here