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George Ferguson on health and wellbeing in European Green Capital

27 January 2015

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson talks about the health and wellbeing benefits of European Green Capital. This is part of a series of blogs, where key players in Bristol's health sector write about a health related subject of their choice. If you want to contribute, email

On Saturday Bristol 2015 held its spectacular opening for its year as European Green Capital featuring a daring high wire stunt 'Bridging the Gap' between two landmark buildings in the Hotwells area of the city.

There will be many benefits to Bristol as a result of holding this title, not least those associated with health and wellbeing for its residents - bridging the gap between what we know needs to be done and the action necessary to achieve that change.

Everyone involved in health and healthcare will know that human health and planetary health are inseparable. Each moment, we depend on the earth's living ecosystem for the air we breathe, for food and water, for shelter, community and meaning.

The European Green Capital award is an acknowledgment that the people who make up the City of Bristol have intentionally and resolutely been striving to find ways of living within the boundaries of what our precious planet can sustain.

The health sector has played a major part in this - ranging from their part in supporting community projects, greening their own estate, sourcing local fresh ingredients for hospital food, pioneering carbon reduction in health care delivery, and shifting staff travel patterns with literally thousands of NHS staff commuting by foot or bike. At a policy level too, the health sector has been integrally involved in producing Bristol's Peak Oil report, the Who Feeds Bristol report, and the Good Food Plan for Bristol.

The technical panel assessment noted achievements within managing green open space, increasing walking and cycling and specific actions on air and noise pollution. As part of European Green Capital the council launched Warm Up Bristol, a new initiative designed to help people make their homes warmer and more energy efficient.

But the award of European Green Capital does not signify that a city has reached some plateau and my guess is you share my drive to continue - increase even - that trajectory.

Now that 2015 has begun, I warmly invite you all to play a part in the year's events. We must celebrate our achievements. And we must use the year as a springboard for achieving even greater progress, stronger partnerships, and deeper resolve. So if there's more events around public health to add to the walking festival, debates on shaping our public realm, and neighbourhood based activities around arts etc, please add them to the calendar - it's open!

And if you have ideas for how existing funded projects can link up and increase reach, relationships with projects in other EU cities or would like to support projects funded through the 2015 Grants visit

There's also an opportunity for Bristol people to hear your stories, how the work you are doing on public health is already continuing to make Bristol a more sustainable city, often for the more vulnerable in our city for whom 2015 must also bring benefits.

Further details will be posted on the Bristol 2015 website - To keep up to date on all the latest news and events from Bristol 2015, follow @Bristol_2015 on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook (

George Ferguson on health and wellbeing in European Green Capital
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