EDINBURGH is well known for its green landscape – from the majestic sight of Arthur’s Seat right in the centre to the expanse of the Meadows, the many parks and the Pentlands on the doorstep.
Now the Capital has emerged as top of the league for green space out of the UK’s ten most populated cities.
New maps show Edinburgh with 49.2 per cent of the city area classed as “green” compared with lowest-rated Liverpool on 16.4 per cent, Bradford on 18.4 per cent and Manchester on 20.4 per cent.
Glasgow was second to Edinburgh on 32 per cent, ahead of Bristol on 29 per cent, Birmingham on 24.6 per cent, Greater London on 23 per cent, Sheffield on 22.1 per cent and Leeds on 21.7 per cent.
The maps were produced by software analysts Esri UK and published on The Guardian website. But there was some scepticism about the boundaries used for the calculations and whether the percentages were therefore strictly accurate.
And there were also warnings that the amount of green space did not mean Edinburgh should be sacrificing its green belt land.
Green councillor Nigel Bagshaw said: “The maps published by this company have the strangest boundaries that I’ve seen, excluding, it seems, parts of Wester Hailes and Kingsknowe and including a large chunk of the Pentlands.
“Assuming that maps of other cities are similarly odd, it suggests that they need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
“However, there is no doubt that the overall message is a strong one: a large part of Edinburgh’s identity is its green space.
“We should be celebrating that and making the most of it, by making sure that green space is accessible to everyone, rather than adopting planning proposals which put that space at peril by placing developer greed before housing need.”
The Capital’s environment leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We’re delighted to be the greenest city in the UK.
“We think very much of our green spaces here in Edinburgh and are proud to maintain more than 130 publicly-accessible parks and Natural Heritage Sites encompassing 45 per cent of all Green Flag parks in Scotland. Our green city status will also take into account the city’s many other important areas of greenery too – from allotments to privately-owned gardens – which are so valuable to the quality of life here in Edinburgh.”
Esri UK analysed Landsat 8 satellite images from spring 2016 for the ten cities with the largest populations.