Greenwich Neighbourhood, London


It's no surprise that cities are more polluted than their more suburban counterparts. But, what are local governments doing to reduce their carbon footprint? 

Being a green city is becoming a badge of honour in this climate-focused world. That's why these 10 European cities are doing all they can to clean up their act. 

We've taken a look at the data so you don't have to. Picking out the greenest cities in Europe based on:

  • Air quality
  • Pollution
  • Quality of life
  • Life expectancy 
  • Green spaces

We'll list the top 10 UK and Mainland European cities that offer the greenest way of life. Where does your city rank?


*The Green City Index assigns a score to calculate how much green space there is in the immediate area. Out of a possible score of 60, the weighting takes 6 factors into account.

  • Number of Parks
  • Number of Gardens
  • Number of Nature and Wildlife Areas
  • Number of Playgrounds
  • Bodies of Water
  • Number of Forests

The top 10 Greenest Cities in Europe


  1. Paris, France - 40/60
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands - 37/60
  3. Rome, Italy - 36/60
  4. Stockholm, Sweden - 35/60
  5. Milan, Italy - 34/60
  6. Prague, Budapest - 33/60
  7. Dublin, Ireland - 32/60
  8. Vienna, Austria - 31/60
  9. Warsaw, Poland - 29/60
  10. Barcelona, Spain - 37/60

Central London just missed out on the top 10, coming in at number 11 on the chart with a score of 26. 

The top spot was firmly taken by France's capital city, Paris. With a whopping 20 parks & gardens, double that of London. The city also scored highly for playgrounds and bodies of water. 

The two most diversely greenest cities in Europe however, were Amsterdam and Stockholm. Both scored a decent amount of points across the board. 

Some of the cities that didn't score so well were: 

  1. Zürich, Switzerland - 15/60
  2. Reykjavik, Iceland - 13/60
  3. Bucharest, Romania - 12/60
  4. Edinburgh, Scotland - 11/60
  5. Tallinn, Estonia - 11/60

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia and Edinburgh scored the worst on the Green City Index. Both Edinburgh and Tallinn had no bodies of water or forests. Edinburgh also scored zero on playgrounds in the city, with Tallinn scoring 2 points. 

The Least Polluted Cities in Europe


These scores do not, however, take into consideration the pollution of these cities. Although Paris came out on top for the greenest cities in Europe, it came 8th for pollution. 

The top 10 least polluted cities in Europe are: 

  1. Dublin, Ireland
  2. Tallinn, Estonia
  3. Bucharest, Romania
  4. Zürich, Switzerland
  5. Reykjavik, Iceland
  6. London, England
  7. Prague, Budapest
  8. Paris, France
  9. Helsinki, Finland
  10. Vienna, Austria 

We can see that 4 of the 5 cities ranked lowest on the previous chart, actually have a much lower pollution score. Surprisingly, despite its amazing greenery, Stockholm was one of the most polluted cities. 

When it comes to deciding which is the greenest city, there are many factors to consider. Having plenty of nature and open spaces does not equal a more eco-friendly space. Pollution levels are one of the biggest problems in climate change. For cities to be truly 'green' they need a good balance of both nature and low pollution levels. 

The cities that scored high on both the greenest cities chart and the lowest on the pollution chart were: 

  • Dublin, Ireland - 32/60 Green Space score & No.1 city with the least pollution 
  • Prague, Budapest - 33/60 Green Space score & No.7 city with the least pollution 
  • London, England - 26/60 Green Space score & No.6 city with the least pollution 



As well as Europe's greenest cities, the study also highlighted key boroughs in London. These were all rated against the following criteria: 

  • Green Outdoor Space Per Borough
  • Green Space Percentage
  • Happy With Green Space Percentage
  • Happy With Air Quality Rating Percentage
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety

Take a look below to see if your home made it to the top 10 greenest boroughs in London. 


  • Richmond Upon Thames - 48.84/60
  • Hillingdon - 46.77/60
  • Bromley - 45.38/60
  • Enfiled - 44.56/60
  • Ealing - 43/60
  • Southwark - 42.91/60
  • Merton - 42.73/60
  • Croydon - 41.73
  • Hammersmith & Fulham - 41.05/60
  • Westminster - 40.76/60

Richmond residents said that they were very happy with the amount of green space they have. The borough scored 10 points each for % of green space and happiness with green space. 

Some of the London areas that scored lowest were: 

  • Barnet - 39.59/60
  • Sutton - 39.44/60
  • Brent - 39.2/60
  • Hounslow - 38.84/60
  • Wandsworth - 38.65/60
  • Kingston Upon Thames - 38.41/60 

Kingston scored the lowest out of all the boroughs surveyed when it came to air quality. It also scored poorly for the amount of green space. Yet, the space available scored highly with residents.

The highest and lowest scoring areas are split between north and south London. Although, the closer to central London the farther down the list the boroughs appear to get. As we can see on the map, the top 4 boroughs lie on the outer limits of London.




Looking further afield, The Green City index also rated the UK's cities. Using the same criteria as the European study, here are the top 10 greenest cities in the UK. 

  • Central London - 36/60
  • Birmingham - 34/60
  • Leeds - 33/60
  • Cardiff - 30/60
  • Glasgow - 29/60
  • Belfast - 26/60
  • Bristol - 26/60
  • Sheffield - 24/60
  • Liverpool - 23/60
  • Edinburgh - 20/60 & Manchester - 20/60

Taking the top spot was Central London with 36/60 points. London ranked the highest for parks and green spaces as well as playgrounds. 

Edinburgh and Manchester tied for 10th place with 20 points each. Both scored well for parks and green spaces but received 0 points for playgrounds. 

Something we can see from this table is that the larger the population, the more parks and green spaces are available. The lower the population, the further down the list the city becomes. This suggests that green living is more of a priority in heavily populated cities. 

However, an exception to this rule appears to be the capital of Wales, Cardiff. This city has a much smaller population than its contemporaries. Yet, it takes the number 4 spot on the list. This appears to be down to its careful balance across the scoreboard.

The worst-rated city in the UK was Kingston Upon Hull. With a population of 288,651 it is by no means the smallest city, but only scored points for parks and gardens. In total, Hull only scored a total of 7 points. 



Although it ranked high on the green city index, Leeds was the second most polluted city surveyed. In fact, many of the cities with excellent green space scores did not do as well when it came to pollution. 

Central London, after pitting the top spot in the green spaces list, came very low on the pollution list. London just missed being crowned the least polluted city in the UK. Instead, northern powerhouse Sheffield took the top spot. 

The UK Cities With the Most Green Attractions


Urban green spaces such as parks, woods, lakesides, and gardens give people the space for physical activity, relaxation, peace, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of cities. Green space can help to reduce stress and boost mental and physical health.

Our study reveals that Leeds, Cardiff, Belfast, Bristol and Nottingham all have the most green attractions within their cities.

Hull and Southampton had the least amount of attractions suggesting these cities could do more to make their areas more green.



Data correct as of 6th August 2020, combining information from a range of reputable sources such as Numbeo, Tripadvisor and the ONS.

We used a weighted ranking system, the Green City Index assigns a score to calculate just how much green space there is in the immediate area.

Out of a possible score of 60, the weighting takes 6 factors into account to reveal the greenest cities and boroughs:

  • Number of Parks
  • Number of Gardens
  • Number of Nature and Wildlife areas
  • Number of Playgrounds
  • Bodies of Water
  • Number of Forests
  • The London boroughs were judged on the following criteria:
  • Green Outdoor Space Per Borough
  • Green Space Percentage
  • Happy with Green Space Percentage
  • Happy With Air Quality Rating Percentage
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety



Essential Living


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