Bristol is Britain's greenest city
Bristol has been named as Britain's most sustainable city in a report published today.
Bristol knocked Brighton and Hove from first place in the second Sustainable Cities Index which ranks the 20 biggest British cities according to social, economic and environmental performance.
Bristol's triumph was in part due to its rise in recycling and composting rates and its high scores on water quality, waste collection and green spaces.
But it came bottom in public transport – one of the criteria used by Forum for the Future which compiled the index.
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Forum spokeswoman Helen Clarkson, said: "Bristol has been very consistent across all the indicators we look at. Sustainability has been on the agenda long term for Bristol as people have been doing this stuff for years and all the benefits are beginning to fall into place."
"Transport was the one thing people we spoke to on the streets in Bristol complained most about," said Miss Clarkson.
"People said public transport was a joke and a lot would much rather cycle because of the price of bus fares and the congestion in the city."
Three league tables measured environmental impact, quality of life for residents and "future-proofing" – how well cities were addressing issues such as climate change, recycling and biodiversity.
Brighton and Hove, last year's overall winner, was rated highest for quality of life and future-proofing but emerged second because of its comparatively poor performance on the environment.
Plymouth, which came third, had the best environmental performance, while Newcastle jumped from eighth to fourth place, making it the only northern city in the top five.
Brighton and Hove, meanwhile, moved up the environmental rankings since last year but not enough to stop Bristol claiming the title of Britain's most sustainable city.
Plymouth's top ranking in the environmental table reflected its water and air quality and the limited impact of its services, housing, transport and consumables on the environment.
Newcastle's future-proofing activities improved its ranking, with green businesses and recycling rates.
But the report revealed a clear North-South divide.
Southern cities tended to perform better in the quality of life indicators and all featured in the top 10, while the industrial heritage of the Midlands and the North was reflected in lower life expectancy.
Liverpool, Birmingham and Hull remain in the bottom three.