Thursday, November 06, 2008

European Green Capital Award: Bristol's shortlisting

Apparently 'Bristol has been chosen as the only city in the UK to be short-listed for the European Green Capital award.

The city has been pre-selected alongside seven other European cities from 35 initial applications.

The seven other cities are: Amsterdam in Holland, Copenhagen in Denmark, the German cities of Freiburg, Hamburg and Munster, Oslo in Norway and Stockholm in Sweden.' (more details here).

I really want to be positive about my city but the first step in a rational process of improvement is recognising the current state of affairs. A realistic assessment of how Green Bristol is reveals that it is miles away from deserving the title 'European Green Capital'. I cant agree with the city being on this shortlist. (more here)

It has very heavy traffic congestion and a very poor public transport system and has no plans which demonstrate they can bring about an absolute reduction in traffic. Air quality is thus unhealthy and contribution to climate change very high. (more here)

The much lauded Parks and Green Spaces strategy is not being followed by the council as they are selling off land on an ad hoc basis without Area Green Space Plans in place. This strategy in any case endorses the sell off of many acres of parks and green spaces, undermining policies on healthy activity outdoors, climate change and biodiversity, and making rainwater management and flood prevention harder.(more here)

Instead of focussing in on waste reduction, recycling and composting Bristol's current Labour Cabinet defends plans for the mass incineration of waste, an option with very poor economic and environmental credentials.(more here)

Many thousands of houses are supposed to be built within and around the city, vastly raising its already very high ecological footprint. (more here)

As for the pattern of regeneration, well that given us Cabot Circus which hardly promotes local production for local needs as its all about the mass consumption of goods imported from all over the globe at great social and environmental cost. (more here)


  1. I just did a radio interview on BBC radio Bristol, and raised some of these same points

    Makr Bradshaw, also on, said 'the shortlisting is also for the future plans' or somesuch

    Forgot to mention the incinerator, though


  2. Well done for raising these points Charlie!

    Mark Bradshaw wont be able to point to plans which will result in a cut in Bristol's eco footprint - because there aren't any that will do this! City footprint is set to continue to rise from an already high level!

    I remember gow in the early 90's both central govt and city council had 'green plans' of one sort or another - but look where we are now!

    They all seem to be pretty stuck in the groove of past policies and priorities and have adopted some green rhetoric only.

  3. Green Capital was a political branding thought up by the Lib Dems when they were in power. It was round about the time they were trying to sell off Castle Park - headed off by a strong opposition campaign by citizens.

    It was then adopted by labour when they came to power. Their green initiatives included:

    Supporting the Shell Wildlife exhibition at the city museum (anyone see the catch there?)

    Planning to destroy the most popular cycle path in the country - again headed off by a public campaign.

    Selling off 90 acres of the city's green space.

    not to mention cabot circus, 36,000 new homes, the appalling public transport etc.

    Then the EU came up with the green capital competition...

    Bristol had to apply, otherwise their Green Capital badge would appear nothing more than empty words. I'm amazed we've been shortlisted. Shame there isn't a Greenwash Capital award because I think we'd be up for first prize for that one...


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.