Surprise winner scoops city honour

Coventry has overcome its concrete jungle reputation to emerge as an environmental torchbearer in an award scheme endorsed by the UN.

The cathedral city regularly appears in The Idler magazine's "crap towns" listings. But the judges of the International Awards for Liveable Communities clearly have more refined tastes. They awarded it first prize in the category for cities with populations of 200,000 to 750,000.

They were impressed by Coventry's environmental initiatives, including one to plant woodland to offset carbon emissions generated by competitors in this summer's International Children's Games. Not bad for somewhere that, in The Idler's view, has little merit other than the fact "that it's easy to travel out of".

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