‘Sustainability’ and ‘environmental’ are slippery terms but there are some places that are much greener than others
Tom DyckhoffSat 23 Jun 2018 08.00 BST
The way towns trumpet their green credentials, you’d think we were already living in Paradise-by-Way-Of-Caroline-Lucas. (We’re not.) It’s tricky, though, to sort greenwash from the truly green. Voting behaviour? Lucas is the UK’s only Green party MP, for Brighton Pavilion ward. But in May’s local elections, a total of 39 Green councillors were elected to the following towns and cities: Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Lambeth, Lancaster, Liverpool, Norwich, Richmond-upon-Thames, Sheffield, Solihull, Stroud, Suffolk and York.
The issue, though, is complex. First, how green are you? Dark as a pine tree? Grass green? Is your life carbon-zero, or do you just put the recycling out? “Sustainability” and “environmental” are slippery terms. Is it greener to live in a city or the country? Debatable, but the recent consensus is city, thanks to economies of scale.
The first of the long-feted “eco-towns” is rising in north-west Bicester, with hundreds of zero-carbon homes. But isn’t it greener to improve existing places than build anew? Last year, Bristol topped Good Move’s survey, based on carbon emissions, recycling, energy consumption, green space and Green councillors. Meanwhile the Green Alliance’s 2016 study of how much a town’s energy was met by renewables, was won by Grimsby (28%).