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Leeds named UK’s best city for parks and play areas – but noticeably terrible for pollution

Leeds has been named as the best city in the UK for “green attractions”.

The comprehensive Green Cities Index report closely analysed every major city in the UK and scored each place on its offering of parks, gardens, wildlife, playgrounds and forests, before combining everything together to give an overall score.

The team of experts at Essential Living then compiled a big list, with Leeds getting top marks in every category to beat the likes of Cardiff, Belfast and Bristol.

The report said: “Urban green spaces such as parks, woods, lakesides, and gardens give people the space for physical activity, relaxation, peace, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of cities. Green space can help to reduce stress and boost mental and physical health.

“Our study reveals that Leeds, Cardiff, Belfast, Bristol and Nottingham all have the most green attractions within their cities.”

However, it wasn’t all good news, as the analysis also found Leeds to be the second-most polluted city in the UK after Stoke-on-Trent.

Leeds had planned to introduce a Clean Air Zone across a huge area of the city this year in a bid to improve air quality, but that is now at risk of not happening at all after central government threatened to withdraw funding.

Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, studying state-business relations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is also the Business News Editor of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin.

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