The World’s Greenest Cities Series: Edinburgh

The World’s Greenest Cities Series: Edinburgh

The World’s Greenest Cities: Edinburgh

Edinburgh was named the UK’s greenest city in 2017, but the authorities definitely haven’t allowed themselves to become complacent. The city has an ambitious five-year programme which aims to make it more sustainable, and the effects of climate change and of worsening air quality on public health, are very much in focus. Here are just some of the ways that Edinburgh council has made the city the greenest in the UK, and how they intend to retain that title.

Traffic and transport

A city-wide low emissions zone has been proposed and there are plans to make the city centre more people-centred than traffic-centred.

Trams have been introduced to Newhaven to encourage more people to use public transport and cut carbon emissions.

Parks and green spaces

The council has secured £900,000 in funding to maintain the city’s parks and green spaces. It also plans to plant more trees in addition to the 12,000 new trees it has planted in the past two years.

Investment in waste management and recycling services

The council had teething problems when they recently introduced changes to their waste and recycling services, but now, they say, recycling rates have improved and complaints are down. The council plans to keep on investing in the services to find ways to increase standards and reduce the amount of waste that’s being sent to landfill.

Delivering meaningful reform

Even though it’s made significant improvements to the city’s sustainability and infrastructure, the council says it has more to do. With over three years until the next round of local elections, the council has promised that it will keep on pushing through its meaningful reforms to make the city of Edinburgh a wonderful and aspirational place to work and live.


Pinces Street Gardens Edinburgh


Do you live in one of the UK’s greenest cities?

Edinburgh was given the accolade of the UK’s greenest city following a study carried out by waste and recycling experts. Cities across the UK were judged based on:

  • whether they had adequate numbers of electric vehicle charging points
  • their single-use plastic use
  • their recycling efficiency
  • their air quality
  • how much green space they had
  • their fast-fashion consumption
  • how much pollution there was in general

The study found that the greenest cities were in Scotland, with Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow taking the top 3 spots. Aberdeen had the best air quality, and Glasgow residents used the least single-use plastic.

The greenest cities in England were:








York scooped the top spot in England because it has some of the highest recycling rates in the country and residents consume the least ‘fast fashion’ of all of the UK cities that were studied.