Britain low in green league tableGood score for water but not for air

05 October 2007

Despite attempts to be a world leader on climate change, Britain scores badly in a league of countries' green credentials, a study claimed today.

The table of 141 countries put Britain 93rd in the world for energy efficiency, including conservation efforts and renewable energy use, and 77th for its greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gases

Overall, Britain was ranked 25th in the list of greenest and best places to live, according to research for Readers' Digest.

The study also gave London a rating of just 27th out of 72 world cities for being environmentally friendly.

According to the analysis, Britain was beaten by neighbours Ireland, which came 7th, and France, which was awarded 16th.

The country which came top in the poll - based on nations' green credentials and other indicators of how desirable they are to live in such as education and income - was Finland, followed by Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Austria.

Ethiopia came bottom of the league table.

Water quality

Britain scored quite highly for water quality, coming in 15th, but did not do so well for air quality, for which it received a ranking of 41st.

The greenest city was judged to be Stockholm, followed by Oslo.

Germany had four cities in the top 10 - Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf, while France had three - Paris, Lyon and Nantes.

London was beaten by Glasgow (13th) and Newcastle (19th) for their environmental laws, parks and waste management, the research found. Manchester was put in 30th place.

The worst cities were all in Asia, with Beijing at the bottom of the table.

Katherine Walker, editor-in-chief of Readers' Digest, said: ‘What is clear from this research is that Britain is far from being a green and pleasant land. This is a disappointing result.

Energy efficiency

‘Our ranking in terms of energy efficiency in particular should send a message to the Government that much more needs to be done.

‘Public awareness is high and the demand to make homes more energy efficient is there, but all the indications are that the grant system has been so chaotic that people who want to install solar panels and wind turbines are being put off.’

The analysis was carried out by US environmental economist Matthew Kahn using the UN 2006 Human Development Index and the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index.

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved