Exeter tops index of England’s cleanest cities

According to an in-depth analysis of environmental data by ENDS Report, Exeter is the cleanest city in England.

The index, which ranks the 55 primary urban areas in England on more than 30 environmental factors grouped into five categories – air quality, climate, water quality, public realm and green behaviour, found Exeter finishing ahead of Worthing and Brighton in a top five dominated by cities on England’s south coast.

The city in Devon, south-west England, ranked highly on several measures, including air quality, climate and water quality. It recorded fewer days of poor air quality than any other urban centre in the index, and boasted below average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Worthing, in second position on the list, ranked highly on climate. According to the data, the West Sussex seaside town has the highest volume of installed renewable electricity capacity per 10,000 households of any of England’s primary urban areas, and the second lowest CO2 emissions per capita.

London, meanwhile, finished at the bottom of the ranking. While the capital performed strongly on climate and green behaviour – it has the lowest proportion of residents commuting by private vehicle, and a high level of electric vehicle charging device provision – the city’s poor air quality was a key factor behind its position.

Jamie Carpenter, editor of ENDS Report, said: “The Clean Cities Index is intended to start a debate about the state of the environment in our biggest towns and cities, and shine a spotlight on some of the wide environmental disparities that exist between them. We need to ‘level up’ our cities so that all city dwellers, from Brighton to Burnley, and from Milton Keynes to Manchester, can enjoy a clean and green living environment. While we have seen welcome progress against some environmental indicators, this has not been uniform, and much more needs to be done.”

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