Bristol and Brighton score highly but Hull is ranked least sustainable of UK's 20 largest cities according to survey

Newcastle has topped a league table of the UKs most sustainable cities.

It pushes Bristol and Brighton into second and third place in the Forum for the Future ranking.

Newcastle in Autumn
Credit: Sam Judson

The third annual round up from the sustainable development organisation tracks ranks the country's 20 largest cities, ranking them on environmental performance, quality of life and future-proofing.

Peter Madden, chief executive of the Forum, praised Newcastle for its ability to overcome the sustainability challenge of an industrial past. He said: "Newcastle'[s success shows that it is possible to overcome the legacy of the past and perform well on many measures of sustainability. We hope it will inspire other cities to redouble their efforts."

Brighton, which came top in 2007, is second for future-proofing and third for quality of life, but is let down by its environmental performance. It has the strongest economy but the worst ecological footprint, which is the amount of land required to provide each person with food, transport, housing, goods and services.

Leicester takes fourth place a strong rise from eighth last year and 14th in 2007 and tops the future-proofing table, reflecting the ambitious strategies noted in last years index.

London moves up four to fifth place and takes second place for quality of life, with strong scores on employment, transport and health. Its economy is second only to Brighton.

Edinburgh is down one place to seventh overall, but comes top on education, employment and air quality. Cardiff has dropped five to 10th. It has plummeted from equal third to 18th in the environment table, falling on every measure.

The biggest change this year is Plymouth, down from third to 12th. It is the only city to have increased its ecological footprint and has also fallen eight places on biodiversity.

At the bottom of the table, Manchester goes up one place to 14th and Birmingham up two to 17th. Both cities have recently launched noteworthy sustainability initiatives and their low positions in the index reflect the scale of the challenge they face.

Glasgow is 19th. However, its comes second for biodiversity, reflecting the priority it gives to green spaces which make up a fifth of its area. Hull remains bottom of the table.