George Ferguson, Bristol’s first ever elected mayor, is in London to muster support for an award that will put the south-western UK city on the international map when, on 1 January 2015, it is bestowed the title of European Green Capital.

We meet in St Stephen’s Tavern, in Westminster. Ferguson is on the tomato juice, the colour of which matches his trademark red trousers. The environmental advocate, urban cyclist and former architect is in a buoyant mood.

“I’ve always seen Bristol as the best opportunity this country has to produce an exemplar medium-sized city,” he exclaims. The mayor has been to Downing Street to meet David Cameron and Eric Pickles who, he says, have agreed to ensure Bristol Green Capital is treated as “a national project”.

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