A new index ranking the six city regions due to elect new metro mayors in May against a range of environmental criteria puts Greater Manchester in the top three for recycling and public transport.
The Green City Regions Index has been compiled by leading environmental organisations Campaign for Better Transport, the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and Green Alliance.
It measures the six city regions – Greater Manchester, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, the West Midlands, and the West of England - against a range of green indicators to outline the green actions that should be priorities for the new mayors.
The full report will be published in May, but initial findings show that Greater Manchester performs better than other city regions on recycling, transport and the natural environment.
The region ranks second in the list for recycling, with a recycling rate of 42 per cent for municipal waste against a national average of 40 per cent.
On transport, Greater Manchester ranks third highest for bus use and joint second for access to service by public transport or walking. There is also positive progress on infrastructure for electric vehicles, with five charging points for every 100,000 people across the city.
Greater Manchester scores highest among the city regions for conservation of the natural environment, and was also ranked first on the quality of water bodies.
However, the index suggests that Greater Manchester is the worst performing city region when it comes to renewable energy, with only four per cent of its electricity currently generated by renewable sources despite ambitious carbon emissions targets.
Like all cities in the index, Greater Manchester is also in breach of air quality limits and has the third-highest number of deaths attributable to long-term exposure to particulate pollution.
However, the city has recently become the first in the UK to join the World Health Organisation’s global BreatheLife network.
Greater Manchester also ranks poorly on green infrastructure and has the lowest use of open space for health and exercise.
Harry Bowell, National Trust director of the North, commented: “The new mayor for Greater Manchester has a fantastic opportunity to show leadership on creating a healthier, more beautiful and resilient city region.
“Whilst Greater Manchester is making progress in reducing emissions, recycling, and use of public transport, the Green City Regions Index helps us to see where more progress could be made. We look forward to working with the new Mayor and making the most of these opportunities.”