The most environmentally friendly boroughs in London

by | Apr 12, 2024 | environmentally friendly | 0 comments

London has ranked high on the world sustainable city list over the years; 3,000 green parks and spaces which make up 40% of the city help with that. Not to mention all the trees sequestering CO2 in those parks.  Changes to emissions within the city are also going to help London become the environmentally city it dreams to be. Hybrid electric buses, bike schemes, and the ULEZ factor will all play a part in reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. However, there is still a long way to go, as it is a matter of changing consumer habits and business practices as well as lifestyle choices.  Here are a few of the London boroughs that are leading the way in prioritizing the environment and a sustainable future.


Ealing –the Queen of the Suburbs is performing well, ranking second highest in London for recycling rates. Ealing recycles half its household waste and is set to advance on that in the next years.  Greener Ealing is a local authority business set up as Ealing’s waste and recycling contractor. Food waste that is recycled in the borough is converted into electricity for homes and fertiliser for farms.  Ealing is threaded with parks and greenspaces, many of them flying the Green Flag award. In addition to that, the council-led Greenford-Gurnell Greenway project will focus on improving floodplain land between Greenford and the Gurnell Leisure Centre. Nurturing these wetlands, meadows, orchards, and woodlands will be key to improving the air quality in the area and preserving carbon-sequestering nature from development.  With allotments, nature reserves and an enthusiastic community, Ealing continues to live up to her legendary adage.


Richmond Upon Thames was crowned the UK’s happiest place to live in 2023 in the annual Right Move survey. The range of Royal Parks and riverside locations that Richmond has to hand are key players in that accolade. However, in another survey Richmond rates second to Bromley in terms of hectares of green space per borough. Bromley’s large parks only slightly outsize Richmond’s, but one could always argue quality and not quantity in Richmond’s favour. It was not only the green spaces cited as the reason why residents love Richmond so much, part of it was the sense of community. Friends of the Earth have a Green Richmond page, which highlights local businesses to support and initiatives to be involved in.

Richmond has The Source Bulk Foods as part of the zero-waste high street options.  In terms of recycling, Richmond does have food waste collection in place, though it is not as high ranking as Ealing in the statistics.  House prices are high in Richmond and housing stock tends to be period homes that require retrofitting in order to become more sustainable and energy efficient in the long term.


Endowed with a large amount of green space when you take into account Hackney Marshes, Victoria Park, Clissold Park, Springfield Park, and London Fields, Hackney has become a magnet for young families in the last 20 years. For years Hackney has been spearheading a greener London with the Hackney City Farm, and Sustainable Hackney has set up a  Greenprint for Hackney outlining the sustainable goals for the community. Hackney has been the crucible for the zero waste movement in London, one example is Refill Therapy in Hackney Wick, a zero-waste boutique refillery and sustainable supermarket. Other local businesses include House of Hackney, a sustainable interior design emporium, which lays out its eco manifesto and carbon-neutral pledge.  Broadway Market in London Fields has been bringing the local market pulse and the vintage clothing recycling vibes to the area for decades. Trendsetting it is, and zero waste is trending in Hackney. Re:store will source you the most ethical products around and then deliver them to you by electric cargo bike within 6km.


Southwark ranks as one of the least polluted London boroughs in a survey by Ecoexperts. The data takes into account noise, light, and air pollution and Southwark ranks third least polluted, after Hackney and Tower Hamlets.  Southwark Council is spending more on green initiatives than other councils and ceasing to invest in companies that are not complying with a sustainable outlook.  Transforming old railway tracks into nature walks and wetland areas along the Surrey Canal bode well for increased biodiversity and green space. New homes at Elephant Park are modelling a new carbon neutral normal in the centre of the city. Powered by a start of the art heat and power plant (CHP) these homes and community spaces  will have low carbon hot water and heating. Sustainable building techniques and tree planting in the area will continue to balance the carbon footprint of some 3000 new homes. Houses at Elephant Park are set to use 30 percent less water than their neighbouring households in London.

Recycling across London Boroughs

London as a whole is trailing behind the rest of the UK in terms of recycling, with a reputation for the worst recycling rate in the country. However, reports have shown Bromley, Ealing, Sutton, Kingston and Bexley as ahead of the London Borough game when it comes to recycling.  Westminster, Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, Tower Hamlets, and Newham were the offenders.  Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Enfield, Greenwich, Waltham Forest, Harrow, and Hillingdon presented low rates of recycling in data studies. Sadiq Khan states that by 2026 no biodegradable or recyclable waste will be sent to landfill, and by 2030, 65 percent of London’s municipal waste will be recycled.  To make this happen each borough has a Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan (RRP), all of which you can read here, borough by borough.

Moving to an environmentally friendly London borough

Putting down roots in the city does require some research, particularly if you are going to spend some time raising a family there. In times when energy prices are high, it is important to consider the EPC rating of a property and how efficient it will be over the years.  Having a council and community that is orientated towards sustainability is going to be more rewarding than feeling frustrated by the councils’ lack of relevant services.  Parks and open spaces do make a difference in London and will often seal the deal when falling in love with a place.  When it comes to moving, Green and Man offers a sustainable service in London with our electric vehicles.  We also donate to the Woodland Heritage to support the cultivation and preservation of English woodlands.

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