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November 19, 2009 12:01 AM

Newcastle has beaten cities with a greener reputation to claim the top spot in the 2009 league table of Britain's most sustainable cities, released by sustainable development organisation Forum for the Future.

It pushes previous winners Bristol and Brighton into second and third place, with good performances in all areas. Newcastle tops the environmental table, and comes fourth for both quality of life and future-proofing.

The Forum's third annual Sustainable Cities Index tracks progress on sustainability in Britain's 20 largest cities, ranking them on environmental performance, quality of life and future-proofing - which looks at issues like how well cities are addressing climate change and how dynamic their economy is.

Newcastle has risen from fourth last year and eighth in 2007, and its result rewards the ambitions set out in its Sustainable Community Strategy for 2008-2011.

Council leader John Shipley said: "We are committed to ensuring that economic growth is not achieved at the expense of the environment and sustainability remains at the heart of our vision for a socially just future.

"As part of our co-ordinated commitment to tackling climate change, we are leading the way in transport innovation as we seek to reduce CO2 emissions and prepare ourselves for a low carbon economy."

Councillor Wendy Taylor, executive member for environment, sustainability and transport, added: "For the past five years, sustainability has been at the very heart of our agenda and we are delighted to have our progress acknowledged."