Ten ways to make UK cities greener

25 Mar 2015



Cities across the UK have an opportunity to unlock immediate benefits by investing in ten types of green infrastructure, according to a report issued by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) today.

Cities across the UK have an opportunity to unlock immediate benefits by investing in ten types of green infrastructure, according to a report issued by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) today.

The report - ‘Smarter, greener cities: ten ways to modernise and improve UK urban infrastructure’ – showcases ten innovative technologies that are already being used in at least one UK town or city and have the capability to be rolled-out immediately and at scale across the country.

Each week the global urban population grows by 1.4m people; the equivalent of a new Birmingham. In the UK, 98% of our cities and urban areas are growing in population. This growth places huge pressure on cities with greater demand on transport, telecommunications, energy, water, waste, and building infrastructure.

Investment in new, modern, green infrastructure brings a range of benefits to cities and their residents: less air pollution, less traffic congestion, improved energy efficiency, lower energy bills, strengthened resilience and improved livability.

Investing in new green energy infrastructure will also help cities and the wider UK to meet its environmental commitments by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, cutting the amount of waste sent to landfill, recycling more, and increasing the amount of renewable energy produced by cities.

The technologies featured in the report include anaerobic digestion, district heating networks, LED streetlighting, combined heat and power schemes, low carbon transport and building energy efficiency.

UK cities already making use of some of these infrastructure solutions include Aberdeen, Birmingham, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, and Sheffield.
GIB was set up to help finance this type of green infrastructure investment, helping to progress the tough projects and find innovative solutions to make sure developers have the upfront capital required to finance them.

Download the 'Smarter, greener cities' report.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the UK Green Investment bank said:

Across the UK we have some world class examples of innovative green energy infrastructure. Our challenge now is to take these technologies, which can be used in any city, and roll them out in every city. Investing in this type of infrastructure will have a transformational impact on the competitiveness and livability of our cities.

Cities Minister, Greg Clark said:

National growth is the sum of local growth, for Britain to prosper every part of the country needs to fulfil its potential. That is why the Government is focused on empowering our great cities and communities to drive growth. This report highlights that green infrastructure has the potential to deliver both economic and social benefits that make our cities more liveable and workable in the future. We are undertaking the biggest ever transfer of powers away from Whitehall so we can grow the economy in a balanced way and enable Britain’s cities to become engines of growth in a range of industries.

Peter Madden OBE, chief executive of Future Cities Catapult said:

Many of our cities are already taking the initiative to drive a low carbon renewal of the nation’s urban infrastructure, and with the prospect of greater devolution this momentum is only set to grow. With the technology now available to us we can take this opportunity to deliver joined-up investment in truly integrated and cost-effective infrastructure, meeting the ambition of our cities’ leaders and the changing needs of communities.


Tel: +44 20 3037 4014

Notes to editors

About the UK Green Investment Bank

The UK Green Investment Bank was launched in November 2012. With £3.8 billion of funding from the UK Government, it is the first bank of its kind in the world.  Its mission is to accelerate the UK's transition to a greener economy, and to create an enduring institution, operating independently of Government.