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London among world's most sustainable cities


London has been ranked as one of the world’s most sustainable cities, according to design and consultancy firm Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index.

In fifth place, London beat global rivals such as New York, Paris and Tokyo in the report, which ranked 100 world cities using three areas of sustainability – social, environmental and economic.

Yet some of the UK’s major cities – including Manchester (25), Birmingham (31) and Leeds (38) – were judged to have poor economic sustainability, leading to calls for policy makers to spread prosperity more evenly across post-Brexit UK.

“As one of the world’s greenest capitals and position at the centre of international trade, London can reap the long-term benefits of being a truly sustainable world city,” said Arcadis UK cities director Richard Bonner.

“However, three of the UK’s largest regional centres – Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds – are being outperformed by their European rivals. In particular, their poor economic performance should be of concern to policy makers looking to rebalance the country’s economy in the wake of Brexit.”

Poor local transport infrastructure and a lack of connectivity to national and international transport networks contributed to the cities’ positions in the index.

Bonner suggested central government could help by investing in local transport and connectivity infrastructure as part of the National Infrastructure Plan.

“All cities have a tough task balancing the pillars of people, planet and profit and whilst Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index shows that there is no such thing as a utopian city, the UK’s urban centres need to be doing more to improve their long-term prospects,” he added.

Edinburgh ranked 13th overall and sixth for economic sustainability, while all six UK cities included in the index – London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh – ranked within the top 25 for environmental sustainability.

Top 10 sustainable cities

  1. Zurich
  2. Singapore
  3. Stockholm
  4. Vienna
  5. London
  6. Frankfurt
  7. Seoul
  8. Hamburg
  9. Prague
  10. Munich

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