Green Flag Awards Green Spaces

February 4, 2008

Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Awards scheme is the national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. The Green Flag Award is open to any freely accessible green space, urban or rural.

On an armchair walk around winning sites and pictures of people involved, this looks likes it been enthusiastically embraced by many local communities.

Oddly, elsewhere the site says About the Award that it’s for England and Wales. What happened to Scotland and Northern Ireland? “The Green Flag Award scheme is not yet available in Northern Ireland but three parks were awarded a Green Flag when a pilot was carried out in Scotland for the first time this year [2007].” This is one of the really odd things about the UK, the way schemes – this isn’t even legislation – are introduced into parts of the country at different times.

Disappointing feature of the site… The Winners list (presumably updated annually) has some nice descriptions of the green spaces that have won an award. But the links take you to the home pages of the local councils managing the sites, rather than to local pages about the sites. Some of those links don’t work properly, and some of the location maps take you to surprising places. (Some of them do work properly!)

Potted highlights…

The scheme was started in 1996. Awards must be renewed annually, and can be withdrawn if a site falls too far below standard within that year. It is managed by The Civic Trust on behalf of CLG (Communities & Local Government).

Benefits in addition to the contribution that good green spaces can make to a community:

  • inclusion in the Best Value & Service Improvement local performance indicators as set up by the Audit Commission
  • a means of securing funding, (e.g.) from the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • some possible contribution towards Beacon Council status for green spaces

Key criteria cover aspects of each of the following, adapted to local circumstances.

  1. A Welcoming Place
  2. Healthy, Safe, and Secure
  3. Clean and Well Maintained
  4. Sustainability
  5. Conservation and Heritage
  6. Community Involvement
  7. Marketing
  8. Management

Eligibility is open to any freely accessible park or green space, including:

  • Town Parks
  • Country Parks
  • Formal Gardens
  • Nature Reserves
  • Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)
  • Cemetery and Crematoria
  • Water Parks
  • Open Spaces
  • Millennium Greens
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
  • Woodlands
  • Allotments


Green Heritage Site

status is a new development under the umbrella of the Green Flag Award scheme […]. Any site that is applying for a Green Flag Award can also apply to be a Green Heritage Site.

Green Heritage Site status is sponsored by English Heritage and promotes the value of, and best practice in, the care and upkeep of parks and green spaces in England that are of local or national historic interest. Sites do not have to be on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, but must be at least 30 years old.

Green Pennant Award

is a national award that recognises high quality green spaces in England and Wales that are managed by voluntary and community groups.

Such as – although Scotland and Northern Ireland have disappeared again! – …

  • Community Gardens
  • Parks, recreation grounds and open spaces
  • Village greens
  • City farms (as long as they provide a green space for recreation)
  • Community-managed section of a larger site e.g. walled garden in a formal park
  • Doorstep greens
  • Millennium greens
  • Allotments (as long as they are managed as a community garden)
  • Sites should be unlocked as much as possible ([they] understand this may not be every day) and when open should be accessible to all.

This entry is part of the Infomancy Eco-Symbols Series.


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