WWF report places Newport and Plymouth at top of green league table but warns energy needs are too high
Newport and Plymouth are officially the greenest cities in Britain but still have unsustainable levels of consumption, according to research.
The study, commissioned by the WWF, said residents in both cities required on average 5.01 hectares of the Earth’s surface to supply their annual needs.
Winchester, the city with the worst ecological footprint, had an average requirement of 6.52 hectares per inhabitant.
But the report, Ecological Footprint of British City Residents, said consumption levels in even the greenest cities were far too high. If the energy needs of the best performing cities were replicated around the world, the resources of 2.8 planets would be required, it said.
The study, which was carried out by environmental consultancy CarbonPlan and the Stockholm Environment Institute, looked at factors including building and heating homes, transport and the adoption of energy saving measures.
The report said: “If everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we would need three planets to support us. The amount we consume has a direct effect on climate change and species loss.
“We need to change our patterns of consumption to combat climate change, conserve the Amazon rainforest and protect our oceans.”
Analysts noted a link between high disposable income and large ecological footprints but said the connection was not automatic. Salisbury was the third greenest city in spite of having a similar economic profile to Winchester.
Glasgow was declared the best city in Scotland, with Edinburgh the worst and Bangor came bottom of the league in Wales.