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 Hertfordshire flag today - in a ceremony also attended by Rob Gordon, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, and Grant Shapps whose Welwyn Hatfield constituency is in the county.
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.
Rob Gordon, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
The Hertfordshire flag is an important symbol of a county that is full of contrasts - just 12 miles from London with a balance of thriving modern towns and picturesque villages set in beautiful countryside.
Flying the flag at the start of 2011 marks an important local anniversary, 1,000 years since the first written record of Hertfordshire in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Hertfordshire County Council is very proud to see its flag flying at the DCLG headquarters as part of the celebration of England’s counties.
Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield and Minister for Local Government said:
Hertfordshire is a county close to my heart. It is my home county - where I was born and raised - and is home to my Parliamentary constituency of Welwyn Hatfield. Like many of its residents I associate strongly with its identity, and flying the county’s flag over the department where I am now a minister is a very proud moment. Counties have played an important part in our history and continue to feature in everyday life; I am pleased we are recognising that.
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 Hertfordshire flag has been kindly loaned by the Hertfordshire County Council at no charge.
Photographs of the county flags will be added to the DCLG Flickr channel