Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Number of top quality parks rises by one third

Number of top quality parks rises by one third

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (130) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2007

The best parks and green spaces in England were named today by Baroness Kay Andrews, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

A record 538 Green Flag Awards - the national standard for parks and green spaces - have been awarded to sites across the country.

The scheme has been running for 11 years and this year has seen a 32 per cent rise in the number of winners, further evidence of the renaissance of our parks and green spaces. Winners are judged to be welcoming, safe and well maintained and involve the local community.

Visiting first time award winner St James' Park, which provides a peaceful refuge for people living, working or visiting Central London, Baroness Andrews said:

"I'd like to congratulate all of the Green Flag winners this year. The huge rise in winners is yet more evidence that across the country the standard of our parks continues to rise. Parks provide an oasis of calm and natural beauty and have a vital role to play in our modern lives as places where people come together to relax, exercise and play.

"Green Flags are awarded to the country's best parks but everyone should be able to enjoy great quality parks and green spaces. Our ambition is that all communities should benefit from this renaissance and local people have the opportunity to take part in the transformation of their parks. St James Park is a shining example of what can be achieved in partnership with the community. Its friends group the Thorney Island Society take an active role in the running of the park."

Paul Todd, the Green Flag Award scheme's programme manager, said:

"We are once again delighted with the huge growth in winners, highlighting the importance quality green spaces play in our communities. These winning sites are all freely accessible to the public, providing time out from the stresses of modern day life. "Well done to the many dedicated parks staff, friends groups and passionate individuals who have worked hard to provide these vital green spaces which help improve the quality of life for everyone."

In addition, 60 community run sites in England were awarded Green Pennants and 31 sites achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation.

Following the announcement, many of these Green Flag Award winners will be celebrating their success with special events in their parks. See http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk for details.

The Green Flag Award is a key component of the Government's commitment to create cleaner, safer, greener communities. This year's winners will celebrate their achievements at a major ceremony at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. Supported by Leeds City Council, Caliba Signs and Sutcliffe Play, winners will be awarded their Green Flags at the event, which for the first time includes a suppliers' exhibition.

Notes to Editors

1. The Green Flag Award scheme, launched in 1996, is managed by the Civic Trust on behalf of Communities and Local Government and the Green Flag Advisory Board which comprises founders of the scheme, sponsors, winners and judges.

2. Images and contact details are available of all award winning parks and green spaces. Contact Caroline Williams of the Civic Trust on 0151 231 6903 cwilliams@civictrust.org.uk.

3. The scheme is sponsored by Communities and Local Government, English Heritage and Natural England and in Wales by the by the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, Design Commission for Wales and Welsh Assembly Government.

4. Any green space in England and Wales that is freely accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag status. A Green Pennant Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site's historic features and the standard of conservation. Sites are judged in May and June each year and the winners are announced in July, flying their Green Flag until July the following year.

5. Communities and Local Government leads the Government's drive to create cleaner, safer, greener communities. Further details are available at http://www.cleanersafergreener.gov.uk

6. The Civic Trust is an independent, national charity, founded in 1957. It works with people to promote thriving towns and villages, developing partnerships between communities, government and business to deliver regeneration and local improvement. It is the umbrella body for 850 civic societies across the country, representing over 250,000 individuals committed to improving and caring for places where people live and work. http://www.civictrust.org.uk

7. Find your nearest Green Flag Award winning site by visiting http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk featuring the most comprehensive guide to events taking place in parks and green spaces throughout the year.

8. The National Audit Office published its value for money study, 'Enhancing Urban Green Spaces' on 2 March 2006. See http://www.nao.org.uk

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 4400;
News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk

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