We investigate the development of metre long negative discharges and focus on their x-ray emissions. We describe appearance, timing and spatial distribution of the x-rays. They appear in bursts of nanosecond duration mostly in the cathode area. The spectrum can be characterized by an exponential function with 200¿keV characteristic photon energy. With nanosecond-fast photography we took detailed images of the pre-breakdown phenomena during the time when x-rays were registered. We found bipolar discharge structures, also called 'pilot systems', in the vicinity of the cathode. As in our previous study of x-rays from positive discharges, we correlate the x-ray emission with encounters between positive and negative streamers. We suggest that a similar process is responsible for x-rays generated by lightning leaders.