UK footprint far too high, says city league table

Posted: 31 October 2007

People living in Plymouth and Newport are having the least impact on the UK environment while people in those living in Winchester are having the most, according to a new green league table of mainland UK cities.

The report, by WWF, ranks the 60 cities in England, Scotland and Wales by the average ecological footprint of their residents. Glasgow came top and Edinburgh bottom in Scotland while Newport had the lowest footprint and Bangor the highest in Wales.

The results of the survey give a damning picture for the country as a whole, as even those cities at the lower end of the scale are consuming more than their fair share of natural resources, says WWF. However, there are examples of cities that have tackled particular issues such as London which has a very low transport footprint.

Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF-UK, said: "The battle for the environment will be won or lost in our cities. They have the highestpotential for eco-living due to local facilities, public transport links, dense housing and shared public resources."

The report says the main factors affecting an individual's ecological footprint are: housing, transport, food, consumer goods and public and private services. The ecological footprint is made up of the land and sea area required to feed, provide resources, produce energy and to absorb their waste and pollution.

The report says people can calculate their footprint at www.wwf.org.uk/calculator and devise a plan to reduce it, join a green community group, holiday closer to home and try to reduce energy use in the home and save money on bills in the process.

If everyone consumed natural resources and generated carbon emissions at the rate we do in the UK we would need three planets to support us, the report says.