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Discovering Bristol's Sustainable Credentials

Bristol is a city that is renowned for its green credentials and Bristolians are proud of this accolade. A visit to the city centre will reveal why this is the case. In this article, we explore some of the city's top green credentials and why it's the perfect destination for eco-conscious travellers.

First Cycling City

A street sign of The National Cycle Network, Bristol
The National Cycle Network, Bristol

In 2008, Bristol was named the UK's first Cycling City. The city is home to Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity, and is at the heart of a network of national cycle routes.

Travelling around the city by bike is made easier by cycle parking spaces, free-to-use bike pumps, showering facilities for cyclists and secure cycle storage. Visitors can hire tandems, bikes, and even foldable Brompton bikes, and follow carefully mapped-out cycling trails in and around the city.

Bristol has a range of bike-friendly accommodations, where cycle storage, washing facilities and packed lunches are available. There are also many bike-friendly cafes and restaurants that offer facilities for cyclists, including the Mud Dock and bike shop, which has been welcoming cyclists since 1993.

Former European Green Capital

Bee "n" The City Initiative
Bee "n" The City Initiative

In 2015, Bristol received the European Green Capital award. The city has the following credentials (source:

  • The most energy and carbon-efficient city in the UK

  • Almost a fifth of Bristol residents walk to work

  • Over the ten years leading up to the award, homes have become 25% more efficient

  • Over 90% of the Bristol population live within 300m of parklands and waterways

  • Bristol’s low-carbon economy employs around 9,000 people

  • Bristol has four city farms, eight nature reserves and more than 400 parks

Gold Sustainable Food City

One of many Bristol's Food trucks
One of many Bristol's Food trucks

In 2021, Bristol was the second UK city to be awarded the status of Gold Sustainable Food City (Brighton and Hove received the award a year earlier). The city received the award as recognition of work carried out to

  • reduce food waste (and redistribute surplus food),

  • engage and empower local communities and school children,

  • grow sustainable food in the city (thus reducing food miles)

  • and for Bristol’s good food movement.

Fair Trade City

Bristol Fair Trade Network brings together locals, businesses and organisations to bring fair trade to small-scale farmers and workers across the globe. They aim to make Bristol a place that has Fair Trade produce available city-wide. The Network hold a range of events, and also work closely with local businesses.

All in all, Bristol is a great place to visit if you want to see green initiatives in action. From the Bristol's Binning campaign, to the various art installations around the city, it's clear to see that the people of Bristol are leading the way!

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