Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, raised the flag outside his department’s headquarters in Westminster to mark Essex Day, which falls on the feast day of Saint Cedd who is the county’s patron saint.
This government is championing local communities continuing to cherish and celebrate such traditional ties and community spirit. Ministers have previously changed the law to make it easier to fly flags without a permit from the council – these new freedoms include flying the Essex flag.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, who is the Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar in Essex, said:
It is only right that Her Majesty’s Government recognises Essex by flying its flag in Whitehall to celebrate their county day.
England’s counties continue to form an important part of our cultural and local identity in this country and many people remain deeply attached to their home county. This sense of pride and shared identity is one of the things that binds communities together.
Councillor David Finch – Leader of Essex County Council said
Essex’s values of hard work, entrepreneurialism and innovation are the embodiment of British values. We’re a big county with big ambitions and strong, united communities. I am delighted that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) headquarters are recognising Essex Day by flying our flag.
Simon Burns, Member of Parliament for Chelmsford in Essex, said:
I am delighted that the Secretary of State has once again decided to fly the Essex flag at the DCLG to mark St. Cedd’s Day. It is a fitting way to mark the day as we celebrate all that is great about Essex.
This is part of a series of steps to champion England’s local and national identities. Last month, the department launched a new initiative to support the ‘tapestry’ of traditional English counties being displayed on street and road signs. The government also published a new online interactive map of England’s county boundaries.
Planning rules have been changed to allow for councils to put up boundary signs marking traditional English counties – including the likes of Cumberland, Huntingdonshire, Westmorland and Middlesex. The government has also proposed changes to highways regulations to allow traditional county names to appear on boundary road signs.
The government has previously changed Whitehall rules to allow local and county flags to be flown without planning permission, and supported the Flag Institute in encouraging a new wave of county and community flags to be designed and flown by local communities.