The European Green Capital Award was set up in 2008 to reward cities that consistently achieve high environmental standards and are committed to further environmental improvement and sustainable development.

Bristol beat rivals Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia. Bristol Mayor George Ferguson welcomed the decision: “This demonstrates Bristol’s ambition to be a pioneering green city and is recognition for the many years of hard work and dedication by the city council, businesses and the people of Bristol to make our city more environmentally friendly.

“We will now be turning our attention to staging an inspiring programme of events in 2015 which will be centred around the idea of Bristol as a ‘Laboratory for Change’. I have offered Bristol as a test-bed for environmental ideas in 2015, where we will develop pioneering practices which will not only benefit Bristol, but will hopefully become a model for cities around the world,” he said.

The winning city must act as a role model and demonstrate a vision for the future that will inspire other cities to take similar action.

Chair of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Martin Bigg, said: “The award demonstrates that turning Bristol into a low-carbon city is central to our vision and by greening the city we are helping to make Bristol an even more attractive place to live, work, visit and study.”

Earlier this month at Green Week in Brussels, the European Commission’s director-general for Environment, Karl Falkenberg, said to raise awareness of environmental issues the European Green Capital scheme needs to achieve the status of fellow scheme, the European Cultural Capital.

“I think the green environmental capital of Europe should be at least as popular and as well-known as cultural centres because it will then carry the right message and give us an opportunity to focus on those issues,” he said.

Leigh Stringer

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