It’s a paradox that one of the things that makes a city liveable is how green it is. Urban life is a thrill of culture, bustle and commerce but if you can’t have a walk around a lush park every once in a while, it quickly becomes an unpleasant existence.

With this in mind, a team of researchers has assessed the levels of greenery in Great Britain’s city centres and ranked them from most to least leafy. There are 68 municipalities with populations of at least 100,000, with places such as Bristol and Bournemouth scoring very well. But one English city stands out from the crowd, largely due to the fact that trees cover a sizeable 12% of its overall land area. Meanwhile, former industrial hubs including Liverpool, Leeds and, surprisingly, Sheffield score less well. And I was gutted to see one of my favourite cities in the whole country come out rock bottom on the ranking, with just 2% tree coverage. Can you guess which it is?

Man first set foot on the Moon in 1969 but the truth is we’ve barely visited since. Now a US-led project aims to send humans back to where Neil Armstrong took his famous steps. However, astronomer royal and Conversation author Martin Rees made the case this week that the astronauts in the Artemis programme might just be the last to visit the Moon. With existential threats such as climate change absorbing all our efforts back on Earth, it’s difficult to justify the costs of such projects in this day and age — especially since robots do such a good job of the science.

Smart meters have, for some time, been hailed as a game changing tool to help households manage energy consumption. The idea is that if you can see in real time how much electricity you are using, you might do a better job of turning out the lights when you leave a room. And with the cost of energy at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, the prospect of thereby saving a few pennies is appealing. So we asked some experts to give us a realistic perspective on these devices. Can they really make a such big difference to our heating habits? The research suggests they might not be as impressive as we’re being led to believe. But there are other things you can do to keep your bills down.

Also this week, why the supreme court ruled Scotland can’t call a second independence referendum, how the purple tomato was born and why Christmas feels like it’s come around so early this year.

Laura Hood

Politics Editor, Assistant Editor

Meet the winner: Exeter. Panoptic Motion / shutterstock

We found Britain’s greenest city centre – and its least green

Jake M Robinson, Flinders University; Paul Brindley, University of Sheffield

Where does your city rank?

A camera mounted on the tip of one of the Orion capsule’s solar array wings captured this footage of the spacecraft and the Moon NASA

Artemis: why it may be the last mission for Nasa astronauts

Martin Rees, University of Cambridge

Artemis-1 is on its way back to Earth, successfully completing its maiden flight.

There are gaps in UK households’ understanding of their energy usage. Daisy Daisy/Shutterstock

Smart meters show your energy use but here’s how you can actually save money

David Glew, Leeds Beckett University

The government is rolling out smart meters across the UK, but at present they are providing households with little benefit.


UK supreme court rules Scotland cannot call a second independence referendum – the decision explained

Michael Gordon, University of Liverpool

The Scottish government wanted to trigger a second independence vote without consulting Westminster but that has been deemed not legally permissable.

Purple tomatoes have been approved for sale in the US. JIC Photography/ flickr

The story of the purple tomato — and why its success is a win for GM foods

Yang Yue, Quadram Institute

The US recently approved the genetically modified fruit, which has enhanced nutritional qualities.

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