The green map of Britain

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The Independent Online

Cleanest air: North-west Scotland

The national map of particulate emissions shows that the Scottish north-west has the lowest concentrations of the finer-scale pollutants that can penetrate the lungs.

Richest botanical mountain area: The Cairngorms, Scotland

A national treasure house for montane flora, boasting 77 of the total 118 species found in Scotland, including 5 plants and 12 hybrids listed in the Red Data Book. Particularly rich in mosses and liverworts.

Greenest national park HQ: Loch Lomond and Trossachs

The new £9m headquarters will feature sheep-wool insulation and a central glazed atrium, made from locally-sourced materials, as well as a reed bed to treat waste water.

Most scenic coastline: Northern Ireland

Many of Britain's coasts could claim this title but Northern Ireland's coastline is particularly spectacular. Maritime cliffs and slopes stretch along the north coast at sites such as the Giant's Causeway, Whitepark Bay, Fair Head and Murlough Bay.

Greenest housing development: The Isle of Bute

Winner of several awards for energy efficiency and sustainability, a seven-storey round tower called The A'Chrannag - the Crow's Nest - in Rothesay offers a mix of different-sized flats with good thermal insulation and south-facing balconies.

Most improved River: River Alt, Merseyside

Following a massive clean-up, 12 species of fish, including roach and sea trout were found on last official count in the once heavily polluted waters

Greenest school: St Francis of Assisi Academy, Liverpool

The first school with a curriculum tailored to specialise in the environment. Built on a former rubbish tip, the walls are plant-covered and a solar-powered atrium powers up to 3 per cent of the school's electricity.

Greenest city: Sheffield

The city council claims it to be the greenest city in England, with more than 200 parks, woodlands and gardens visited by over 25 million people each year.

Most organic farm: Woodlands Farm in Lincolnshire

A mixed enterprise with beef cattle, bronze turkeys and sheep, Woodlands won the prestigious Soil Association 2004 award for showing 'how good organic farming can get'.

Top renewable energy showcase: Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales

The centre claims to lead by example, offering solutions to some of the most serious environmental challenges, such as climate change, pollution and the waste of precious resources. It demonstrates practical ways of addressing these problems.

Britain's best sunset: The Gower Peninsula, South Wales

With nothing between you and thousands of miles of open Atlantic Ocean, this has been voted the best place in the country to watch the setting sun dip below the distant horizon.

Greenest website:, Coventry

Environment group, Action 21, teamed up with local councils to launch the site, which is free to use and dedicated to reducing the amount of rubbish in local landfill sites.

Greenest warehouse: Southwold, Suffolk

Operational from September 2006, this will be the UK's first commercial building constructed from highly sustainable lime hemp blocks and will include a ‘living’ green roof.

Best bird reserve: Minsmere in Suffolk

This is one of the RSPB’s most famous nature reserves which has pioneered the use of observation hides and the management of wetland areas to enable visitors to see some of diverse range of birds that pass along the Suffolk coast.

The greenest village: Chew Magna, Somerset

Most of the village's 1,100 residents are committed to minimising their impact on the environment as part of an ambitious 'go zero' policy involving waste recycling and sourcing food locally.

Best for recycling: St Edmundsbury, Suffolk

Citizens of the borough recycle just over half of their domestic waste, more than any other British local authority.

Sustainable business park: Red Kite House, Howbery Park, Wallingford

The award-winning 70-acre site benefits from natural ventilation, solar panels, motorised windows and a system for collecting rainwater.

Best school dinners: Southdown Infants School, Bath

Winners of the Soil Association award, Southdown opted out of the county-wide meal service in favour of locally sourced vegetables and meat that could be traced back to the farm.

Britain's best butterfly site: Porton Down in Wiltshire

A variety of habitats and rich chalk downland flora have allowed 44 species (78 per cent of the British list) to be recorded here. It is a valuable reservoir for declining species.

Greenest cafe: The Venus Company, South Hams

Awarded Green Tourism gold status for initiatives including donating 5p from every cup of tea and ice cream flake sold to improving 'green lanes' and footpaths in the area.

Lowest carbon town: Woking in Surrey

Over a period of 15 years, Woking Borough Council achieved a 77.4 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and reduced carbon-equivalent emissions by 17.23 per cent.

Best wildflower site: The New Forest

A rich mosaic of varied habitats such as coniferous and pasture woodland, heathland, mires and bogs, provide the backdrop to this botanical wonderland filled with wild gladiolus, marsh gentian, club moss lichens and fungi.

Cleanest city: The City of London

Despite having virtually no litter bins London's streets are 'sparkling', said Ruth Drysdale, one of the award's judges. The city reclaimed the title last year, having first won it in 2001.

Best urban nature reserve: The Wetland Centre, Barnes, London

Originally four concrete basins sparse of vegetation, the area is now described as "a superb wet lands with a city backdrop" and is home to wildlife including water voles and bitterns.