REPOST: Bristol revels in role as green European capital

On January 1, 2015, the city of Bristol in South West England will officially receive the title of European Green Capital. The Guardian has the details on this development.

Bristol’s Make Sundays Special initiative, helped open up city centre streets to local people and tourists. Photograph: Chris Bahn, Bristol City Council.)

George Ferguson, Bristol’s first ever elected mayor, is in London to muster support for an award that will put the south-western UK city on the international map when, on 1 January 2015, it is bestowed the title of European Green Capital.

We meet in St Stephen’s Tavern, in Westminster. Ferguson is on the tomato juice, the colour of which matches his trademark red trousers. The environmental advocate, urban cyclist and former architect is in a buoyant mood.

“I’ve always seen Bristol as the best opportunity this country has to produce an exemplar medium-sized city,” he exclaims. The mayor has been to Downing Street to meet David Cameron and Eric Pickles who, he says, have agreed to ensure Bristol Green Capital is treated as “a national project”.

It is still relatively early days – just four months since Bristol won the award – but Ferguson has high ambitions. Not only is he confident of securing investment from central government and the private sector, but is also seeking the full support of Britain’s overseas diplomatic service.

Not since Liverpool earned the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008 has Britain had a chance like this, as Ferguson says, “to raise our game and market our wares”. For Bristol, long known as a hub for creative industries, social entrepreneurs and ethical organisations such as the Soil Association, Sustrans and Triodos Bank, it is a golden opportunity to promote the city’s green credentials.

First claimed by Stockholm in 2010, the European Green Capital Award has since been held by Hamburg in 2011, Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2012 and Nantes in 2013. Next year it passes to Copenhagen. The prize recognises a city’s environmental performance across a set of twelve indicators covering everything from transportation and energy performance to air quality.

Read the rest of the article here for more about Bristol’s winning the European Green Capital award.

Environmentalist Janique Goff hopes that more cities all over the world will adopt green initiatives and inspire their citizens to live eco-friendly lifestyles. For more updates on her environmental and ecological activities, visit her Facebook page.

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