Saturday, 28 April 2012
Bristol gets Green Capital nod
In short, Bristol has been shortlisted for the European Green Capital 2014 award! This is a competition run by by the European Commission to recognise cities that are leading the way in promoting environmental objectives across a wide range of topic like climate change, water quality, air pollution, waste management, transport and so on. The winners to date have been Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012 - which I visited last year to find out what they were doing) and Nantes (2013). The tag line for the competition is "Green cities fit for life" and that sums it up pretty well!
Three cities have been shortlisted for the 2014 award (Bristol, Copenhagen and Frankfurt) out of the 18 that entered. The other UK cities were Newcastle (10th) and Stoke-on-Trent (14th). Other cities that Bristol beat to the shortlisting included Vienna, Brussels, Rotterdam, Ghent and Turin. The shortlisting is done by a panel of international experts in each of the fields and it is on the basis of a 'technical assessment' of the state of the city, progress in recent years and future plans. You can read the full report online, but the basic headline is that Bristol came a very clear second behind Copenhagen. This is the second time in which Bristol has been shortlisted and we're the only UK city to have even been shortlisted once!
The final decision on a winner is made in early June. We have to go to Brussels to make a presentation of why we should win and what we will do to be role models for other cities. Copenhagen and Frankfurt are both larger and richer cities than Bristol, so we will have to make a virtue of all things Bristolian in order to impress the panel. Fundamentally, more cities in Europe are like Bristol than the other two, so we'll be aiming to show that we're more likely to have an impact than the big hitters. I think we have a very good chance of winning - German and Scandinavian cities have won before, so the judges may well want to see a different type of winner this time around.
There is something very simple that you do to help too! The partnership behind the bid is collecting a list of people who are supporting Bristol to win. We want to show that Bristol's bid has got the backing of its citizens and that there is a grass-roots commitment to greening our city. You can sign up online very quickly and simply - over 1,000 people have done so already.
Whether we win or not, getting shortlisted for this award is another signal that Bristol is in the very vanguard of cities in terms of how it manages its environment and how it contributes to international efforts to address climate change issues. We already know that, but it's lovely to have an international panel of experts say the same thing!
Posted by Neil Harrison at 3:56 pm