Newcastle-upon-Tyne has been named Britain’s “greenest” city, proving once and for all that it is not all grim up north.
Since the dawn of the industrial age, Newcastle has been a ship building centre blackened by factory smog and dust of the nearby Durham coalfields.
But after industrial decline kick-started a new era of urban redevelopment, the city’s transformation has been well and truly cemented.
Last year’s winner Bristol was relegated to second place, with Brighton claiming bronze in the third annual “Sustainable Cities” list compiled by the environmental think thank, Forum for the Future.
In stark contrast to its former life, Newcastle was praised for its excellent air quality, low carbon emissions, low levels of waste and high recycling rates.
Forum Chief Executive Peter Madden said: “Cities with an industrial heritage face genuine challenges, but Newcastle’s success shows that it is possible to overcome the legacy of the past.”
The study ranked 20 places based on 13 factors, including recycling, pollution and plans to counter the threat of climate change.
The regenerated quayside, new culture and arts centres and famous nightlife have ensured Newcastle’s dramatic change, along with neighbouring Gateshead, since its industrial heyday.
But in doing so, the city has retained much of its old identity – the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, for instance, is housed in a converted flour mill – taking pride in its past while embracing the future.
J.B. Priestley once said the area was “blacker than Manchester and might have been carved out of coal.” If only he was around today!
Newcastle has come a long way, rising from fourth place last year and eighth in 2007. Bottom of the pile for a second year running was Hull, followed by Glasgow, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
Hat tip to Reuters