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Ecological balance: New study reveals the UK’s greenest cities

The study was undertaken by the national skip hire company ReliableSkip.com who analysed several anthropogenic factors for each U.K. city, including the percentage of recycled goods.

An office block in London. Image © Tim Sandle
An office block in London. Image © Tim Sandle

A review of cities with the best environmental track records has revealed that Bath is the U.K.’s greenest city. This is based on the percentage of recycled waste, air quality and the number of nature and park attractions. Canterbury and Chester take second and third, respectively.

The study was undertaken by the national skip hire company ReliableSkip.com who analysed several anthropogenic factors for each U.K. city, including the percentage of recycled, reused or composted waste, the air quality, and the number of nature and park attractions in each area. Each city was scored and ranked out of 100 based on these factors.

In terms of the source data:

  • The household waste data was taken from WasteDataFlow.
  • The air quality data was taken from the Department for Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs.
  • The number of nature & park attractions in each city was taken from TripAdvisor.
  • The ‘Green Score’ was found by combining these three factors and scoring each city against each other.

Bath achieves a ‘green score’ of 87.79. This is due to there being 59.2 percent of all household waste being recycled, along with an average air quality of 3.12, based on 2022 data, which is the joint second highest of any city. The data review also found there to be 28 nature and park attractions in the city, which is around 3.33 per 10,000 people.

Taking second on the list is the historic city of Canterbury, scoring 87.54 out of 100 on the study’s green score. The city comes in with 40.9 percent of all household waste being recycled, along with the joint highest air quality, with a score of 3.15. The city also has 25 nature & park attractions, which is around 4.53 per 10,000 people.

Coming in third on the list of municipalities is Chester, with the Cheshire city scoring 81.99 out of 100 on the study’s green score. 54.5 percent of all household waste is recycled in the city, with Chester scoring 2.86 for air quality. There are 25 nature and park attractions in the city, which is around 3.25 per 10,000 people.

The top ten is:

RankCity% of Household Waste Recycled, Reused or Composted (2021)Average air quality to nearest region out of 10 (2022)Number of nature & park attractions per 10,000 peopleOutcome
1Bath59.20%3.123.3387.79
2Canterbury40.90%3.154.5387.54
3Chester54.50%2.863.2581.99
4Inverness37.30%2.873.8177.45
5Winchester40.50%3.152.9575.71
6Norwich38.30%3.053.2175.50
7Colchester56.90%3.151.6474.45
8Oxford52.10%3.151.9174.02
9Cambridge49.60%3.052.1073.05
10St Albans64.20%3.050.8171.01

Commenting on the findings, Paul Bennett, Operations Director at ReliableSkip.com, explains the significance: “While we can all do our bit to help keep the UK, and the world, green, through methods like recycling, it’s imperative that this is also enforced and encouraged in the public eye. This is why it’s interesting to see the difference some cities have in their waste management, with some cities doubling others on the amount they recycle.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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