Stockholm and Hamburg have come up trumps in the EC’s new European Green Capitals contest which will see a new city crowned the continent’s most environmentally friendly each year.

The Swedish capital will have the honour in 2010 with Hamburg taking the reins in 2011.

Scandinavian and German contenders dominated the field and Bristol was the only British city.

Its bid emphasized the city’s promotion of cycling and green spaces, as well as a demonstrable commitment to sustainable waste management and renewable energy.

A spokeperson for Bristol City council, which led the bid, told edie the ultimate goal had been to ensure the city became more sustainable rather than to win the title.

She said no decision had been made on whether Bristol would run for the award again next year.

Stockholm was commended for putting environmental concerns at the centre of its policy making processes, aiming to be free of fossil fuels by 2050 and having long-established waste management systems that would be considered innovative elsewhere.

Hamburg received praise for its extensive programme of refitting public buildings with energy saving measures including efficient boilers, air conditioning units and lighting. Its willingless to put its money where its mouth is, with considerable municipal investment in environmental improvements, was also noted.

Europe’s Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “I congratulate Stockholm and Hamburg for their efforts to give priority to the environment and quality of life.

“Four out of five Europeans now live in urban areas, and that is where the environmental challenges facing our society are most apparent.

“With their measures to tackle air pollution, traffic and congestion levels, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste and waste water management, Stockholm and Hamburg can act as role models for the rest of Europe.”

Cllr Helen Holland, leader of Bristol City Council, congratulated the winners.

“While I am disappointed that Bristol was not named as one of winners, I believe that being shortlisted was in itself a tremendous endorsement for our city,” she said.

“We were the only UK city to be in the running for the title and the EU itself has described every shortlisted city as an environmental front runner – something everyone in Bristol can be proud of.

“The bid was a real partnership effort and demonstrated an exceptional commitment by local people and business to make Bristol a more sustainable and healthier place to live and work.

“We now aim to build on that commitment by encouraging more Bristolians to join with us and with their friends and neighbours to help reduce their impact on the environment and improve quality of life locally.

“I also want to encourage more businesses to sign up to the Green Capital philosophy as a way of reducing their carbon footprint – something that’s good for business as well as for the city.”

Sam Bond

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