Britain’s green living champions revealed (By area and type)

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South Oxfordshire leads the way on recycling and eco-living

Commuter-belt citizens in South Oxfordshire have been named Britain’s best recyclers, according to a wide-ranging survey by a British company; while Leeds and central London boroughs also topped surveys for green living and driving respectively.

The Yorkshire-based BusinessWaste.co.uk company says that locals around Henley-on-Thames, Wallingford, Thame and Didcot are the most enthusiastic in the country when it comes to dealing with their refuse in an ecologically-minded manner.

Close runners-up were Monmouthshire in Wales and Shepway in Kent, along with Edinburgh, which showed high rates of public engagement with green policies.

“These results are not just about local councils hitting recycling targets,” said BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “It’s all about how everyday people are recycling, living green and driving green; and how businesses are cutting down on waste.”

According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, the top local areas for citizen and business engagement with recycling and greener waste management are:

1. South Oxfordshire
2. Monmouthshire
3. Shepway
4. Edinburgh
5. Bournemouth
6. Staffordshire
7. York
8. Caerphilly
9. Ryedale
10. Denbighshire

“Our figures reflect the recent reports that show Wales is really taking the national lead on recycling,” says Hall. “The big difference between the Welsh experience and under-performing councils elsewhere is that they’re bringing their residents and businesses along with them, rather the imposing unpopular and inconvenient recycling schemes.

“People recycle by consent, not because they’ve been told to.”

Elsewhere, BusinessWaste.co.uk found that the areas which had the most eco-friendly cars were those where it was more convenient to drive a hybrid or electric car. This meant that there is a higher concentration of eco-drivers in metropolitan areas where there are more charging points and more incentive to drive greener.

The top five areas for eco-drivers in the UK were:

1. Kensington and Chelsea
2. Fulham
3. Westminster
4. Leeds
5. Edinburgh

“It’s hardly surprising to see three central London boroughs in the list – electric cars get a 100% discount, saving drivers thousands per year for owning a car,” says Business Waste’s Mark Hall, noting that the almost ubiquitous G-Wizz electric car in central London is wrongly regarded as a joke by “snobbish” motor journalists, not least on BBC’s Top Gear programme.

The G-Wizz led the way on cheap electric motoring, BusinessWaste.co.uk says, and now major companies such as Nissan with their all-electric Leaf model have overtaken with better and more efficient green cards.

“But it’s good to see other areas in the UK getting a look in – that goes to show that eco-cars are truly catching on.”

BusinessWaste.co.uk also looked into where people were more likely to live in an eco-home or commit to an eco-lifestyle, with the winner coming as something as a surprise:

1. Leeds
2. Pembrokeshire
3. Gloucestershire
4. Cornwall
5. Cumbria

BusinessWaste.co.uk says there’s an enthusiasm for greener living in Yorkshire, and that’s something of a reaction to the region’s industrial past.

“There are eco-developments appearing in Leeds that are leading the way in greener thinking,” says Hall. “The Lilac Project in Bramley came a close runner-up in a national poll this year, and it’s typical of eco living across the Leeds metro area.”

The waste management company says that they support any local initiative that encourages greener living, driving or higher rates of recycling.

“While it’s good to have national targets for recycling rates,” Hall says, “Getting people involved in their own future is something that’s guaranteed to work.

“We’re pleased to recognise the areas of the UK that are doing it the best.”

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