|The UK’s first hydrogen powered ferry in Bristol harbour.
By Anders Lorenzen
In the sort of coincidental timing a PR manager can only dream of, on 14th June it was announced that Bristol would be named European Green Capital for 2015, on the eve of the start of Bristol’s Big Green Week. It was third time lucky for Bristol, who have applied to secure the title three times before, and it will also be the first time a UK city has been recognised with this honor.
The Big Green Week heralds in a green future for Bristol
Bristol’s recently elected independent Mayor, George Ferguson, had just returned from receiving his exciting news in Nantes, the current European Green Capital, in time to attend the Bristol Big Green Week Launch Party at the town’s City Hall. The party was hosted by a series of local eco fashion initiatives and catered for by the charity FareShare South West, which collects and re-distributes food and meals that would otherwise have been thrown away. In his welcome speech, the Mayor was visibly delighted and excited by the news, highlighting the job opportunities and investment the European Green Capital status will bring to Bristol, in addition to the well deserved focus that will be placed on the city’s many green initiatives.
Joining a proud roster of green cities
The European Green Capital initiative was launched in 2010, and as of 2015, Bristol will join an elite club of previous Green Capital hosts including Stockholm in Sweden, Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, Nantes in France and Copenhagen in Denmark (European Green Capital 2014).
The Jury chose Bristol for the honour, as it considered the city’s sustainable community projects to be good examples of citizen engagement to tackle environmental, economic and social issues. The city has committed a budget of EUR 500 million for transport improvements by 2015 and up to EUR 300 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2020. Bristol’s transport and urban policies have contributed to achieving better air quality. Thanks to its efforts the number of cyclists has doubled in recent years, and the city is committed to doubling this number again by 2020.
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik made the following comment at the award ceremony in Nantes, “Congratulations to Bristol for the example they are setting. We have much to learn from these efforts to improve the environment and quality of life for citizens, whilst creating new business opportunities, and I look forward to their year as European Green Capital. They will have numerous occasions to showcase their expertise and their creative approach to engaging with citizens and to developing a green economy.”.
Bristol; a hive of green activity
Bristol is seen as one of the leading green cities in the UK; it hosts numerous green initiatives ranging from The Big Green Week to the Bristol Future initiative, and Bristol hydrogen fuelled boats, and the UK arm of the ethical bank Triodos. Furthermore, it hosts several active green NGOs, including Sustrans, Soil Association and a local branch of Forum for the Future, in addition to the BBC’s world famous natural history unit.
Find out more about Bristol’s Big Green Week, which is running from 15th – 23rd of June
Sub edited by Kirstie Wielandt