This year’s Special Awards, designed to reward excellence where cities have demonstrated particularly high standards in promoting municipal cleanliness, went to the City of London, the 2001 title-holders, Bristol and Truro. London’s ‘square mile’ received its award for “consistency and continuing effort”; Bristol, which last made an appearance on the competition shortlist in 1999, was honoured for being “the most improved city”; while Truro, last a finalist in 1997, was picked out as “the best small city”. This year, for the first time, the judges also decided to make an additional Special Award to a city which had not necessarily featured among the finalists but which had implemented a particularly creative scheme in a key area; the prize went to Birmingham for the high standards set in its “outstanding canalside development”

The 2003 ‘Britain’s Cleanest City’ competition saw both an increased number of entries and new entrants, including such favourite tourist hotspots as Edinburgh and York, which both made it to the final on their first attempt. This, said the judges, was a welcome advance but one which made it even more difficult than usual for them to sort out the front runners. “Overall, we’ve been disappointed to find that standards have not risen, in spite of the keen efforts and diligence of those who do the work. This circumstance, we feel, can be put down, at least in part, to an increase in anti-social behaviour among certain sections of the public, along with people’s increased lack of respect for their surroundings,” they noted. “Certainly, in spite of most cities boosting both budget and output to eliminate such problems, graffiti is on the up, and the chewing-gum problem is back with a vengeance. There is no doubt,” added the judges, “that local authorities face an uphill battle to persuade the general public that the achievement of a ‘clean city’ is as much their responsibility as it is of those who clean up behind them.”

Scroll to Top