These are the top 25 greenest cities in the UK according to a new study

Bristol has been named the fifth greenest city in the countryBristol has been named the fifth greenest city in the country
Bristol has been named the fifth greenest city in the country | Getty Images

Sheffield has been voted the greenest city in the UK with Edinburgh in second, followed by Cardiff, according to a new study. 

The South Yorkshire city was ranked highly on several criteria including size of green spaces and green energy production - thanks to 22,600 acres of green space and a high volume of renewable energy production (71MWh/1,000 people annually - second only to windfarm-central city of Hull). 

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Residents of Sheffield also use a relatively low amount of energy per person compared to other cities and have a high percentage of ULEZ vehicles. 

Edinburgh was ranked the second greenest city and visually the greenest with the equivalent of 233.3m2 area of green space per head, one of the lowest numbers of car commuters and a high percentage of ULEZ vehicles. 

London was 11th on the list of the top 25 cities, with green credentials including a high number of ULEV vehicles per capita – due in part to residents getting ready for the expansion of the ULEZ zone on the 25th October – and 159,000 Londoners (3.5% of the city’s population) commuting by bike regularly.  

Londoners also produce a relatively low amount of waste per person compared to other cities. 

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Green cities report

The results come from NatWest’s Green Cities Report, in conjunction with experts from the University of Southampton.  

Research was commissioned as part of the bank’s climate strategy to support UK consumers in going greener and marks the launch of carbon footprint tracking on NatWest’s banking app - a first for a UK bank - in association with climate data experts CoGo.  

David Lindberg, CEO, retail banking at NatWest, said: “It’s great to see cities like Sheffield and Edinburgh leading the way when it comes to creating a greener environment.  

“We are extremely excited to be launching carbon footprint tracking in association with CoGo as a UK banking first. It empowers customers to manage their own carbon footprint, helping them to make small changes that can add up and help tackle climate change.  

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“We want to help set and raise the standards that the rest of the banking industry should follow. 

“COP26 is an extraordinary opportunity for the UK to lead the world in tackling climate change.  

“We are very proud of our partnership with COP26 which further highlights our determination to be the leader in the transition to a low carbon economy across the financial services industry.” 

Professor William Powrie from the University of Southampton, the lead expert behind NatWest’s Green Cities report, said: “The key message from NatWest’s Green Cities Report is that we can and must all contribute to making our towns and cities as green as possible, so it could not have come at a more appropriate moment.  

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“The list will enable cities and people to reflect on their progress towards behaving sustainably. Simple changes can make a big difference - walking, cycling or using public transport rather than going by car, using less and recycling more; but we all need to get involved.” 

“It’s great to see Sheffield scooping the accolade of the UK’s Greenest City, with schemes like their Grey to Green campaign creating high quality green recreational and active transport corridors, helping people behave more sustainably in their daily lives, and benefitting the city’s environmental trajectory.” 

Ranked on a range of environmental data

In the most comprehensive study of its type to date, with lead input from Professor William Powrie, the UK's 25 biggest cities by population were analysed and ranked using a range of environmental data.  

Seventeen criteria were considered and weighted, with cities ranked based on their scores of six overall categories: green space, energy use/production, motor vehicles, waste and recycling, commuting travel and pollution. 


  1. Sheffield
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Cardiff
  4. Brighton & Hove
  5. Bristol
  6. Leeds
  7. Glasgow
  8. Nottingham
  9. Newcastle upon Tyne
  10. Belfast
  11. London
  12. Salford
  13. Manchester
  14. Derby
  15. Wakefield
  16. Liverpool
  17. Plymouth
  18. Bradford
  19. Stoke-on-Trent
  20. Birmingham
  21. Hull
  22. Leicester
  23. Coventry
  24. Sunderland
  25. Wolverhampton