Brighton: The UK’s Most Eco-Friendly City?
Situated at the forefront of the UK’s drive towards sustainability, the city of Brighton has a long and proud history of being eco-friendly. If you’re looking to go green on your travels, the South coast has much to offer, from zero-waste shops to fun community cleaning events.
Moreover, as the only area of the country with a Member of Parliament from the Green Party, Brighton’s council are ceaselessly transforming the city from the bottom up to make it as eco-friendly as possible. For our Travel Green series, we’ve drawn up a definitive guide to Brighton and its close relationship with the environment.
The Eco-Conscious Brighton Council
Not to be beaten by the Mayor of London’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2050, the Brighton and Hove Council have pledged to do the same within a decade. Their plan includes significant investment in *HL*offsetting programmes, cycling schemes, and solar panels.
The council have particularly been tackling emissions through reforming the city’s transport. £4m has been set aside to improve Lewes Road, a large main road with high congestion and wasted fuel. The council are also encouraging residents to move away from using petrol and diesel, installing numerous electric charging points and offering a 50% discount on parking permits if you own a low-emissions vehicle.
Brighton’s Eco-Friendly Shops
The prevalence of the green culture in Brighton has also made its mark on the shopping scene. Eco-friendly commodities are a growing market on the south coast, and the demand has led to a mini-revolution. It was Silo, back in 2014, who very much set the pace with the UK’s first ever ‘zero waste’ restaurant. Their extraordinary commitment to being resourceful went as far as making their own cheese and butter on-site from leftover milk.
Although they’ve recently moved on to the capital, there are many more similar projects appearing across Brighton. We particularly enj0yed our visit to Wastenot, a zero-waste and zero-packaging store selling high-quality produce and plastic-free goods. We tried their ‘Truthpaste’ – a specially crafted clay toothpaste in a glass jar – and were not disappointed.
Protecting Land and Sea
The effort to protect Brighton’s ecology is not limited to above water. Four years ago, an area of offshore water covering close to 900km² officially became a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), meaning that the cleanliness of the water and quality of marine life is carefully assessed and moderated. The area is home to corals, starfish, sea-sponges and many more weird and wonderful creatures that will be protected for years to come.
Spring Cleaning in Style
This has to be our favourite eco-initiative of all in Brighton. An organisation called Pier 2 Pier offer regular silent disco litter pick-ups for public and corporate groups alike. Teams comprising of over 200 volunteers take to the seafront each month to clear away waste that has been either washed up or dumped. The initiative has been hailed by the council as forward-thinking and innovative, and the results speak for themselves, with as much as 70kg of litter being picked up in a single day.