To celebrate the important place counties play in the nation’s cultural heritage Secretary of State Eric Pickles has asked that English county standards be flown alongside the Union Flag outside DCLG’s Eland House headquarters in Victoria.
Mr Pickles raised the first flag - for his adopted home county of Essex - in a ceremony also attended earlier this year by celebrity astrologer and long-time English county campaigner Russell Grant.
Flags are being flown for a week at a time in alphabetical order or - in cases such as Cornwall and Yorkshire - to coincide with particular county days.
Eric Pickles said:
The Union Flag rightly has pride of place outside the department but I’m delighted it will now be flown alongside our traditional and ceremonial county flags.
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 - both the traditional ‘cricket’ counties and in some cases their more modern administrative successors. This sense of pride and shared identity is 1 of the things that binds communities together and it’s right that the government department responsible for communities and local government should be actively recognising the important role they play.
Dame Janet Trotter DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire said:
Gloucestershire Cathedral; the beauty of the Forest of Dean; the excitement of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival; the wooded slopes of the Cotswolds and the serenity of Tewkesbury Abbey are among aspects of the historic county of Gloucestershire of which we are proud.
The county has a 1,000 year history but a lively modern economy which has many award winning industries and businesses. Today we value our diverse local communities and our commitment to supporting one another whatever the need: this was particularly demonstrated during the 2007 floods when we demonstrated a community spirit which continues to this day.
The department is obliged to fly the European Union flag during Europe Week (week beginning 9 May) under Article 7(2) of EC Regulation 1828/2006.
The Gloucestershire flag has been kindly loaned by the Association of British Counties at no charge.
Photographs of the county flags will be added to the DCLG Flickr channel