The Green Flag Awards - an annual ‘MOT’ inspection for parks on aspects like safety and cleanliness - are to continue as Communities Minister Don Foster announces that Keep Britain Tidy has been awarded the licence to run the scheme for the next five years.
First launched in 1996 the scheme has rewarded thousands of flags over the years, with a record number 1,424 sites receiving the award this year.
Mr Foster said:
As thousands of tourists during the Olympics saw for themselves we have some of the greatest parks in the world in this country and I want to keep the standard very high. This is why the government is pleased to announce that Keep Britain Tidy will continue to run the scheme, awarding green flags to those parks that provide great spaces for local people.
Open spaces are essential in bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together, and are particularly important for the millions of people who do not have the luxury of their own garden to relax in or for their children to play in. Green flags will continue to reward great parks across the country and challenge all the others to do even better.
As well as parks the green flag award scheme is open to any freely accessible public open space, including woodlands, nature reserves, allotments and cemeteries. Judging is carried out by an army of volunteer judges and parks that receive lottery funding are required to achieve green flag status.
Speaking today at the UK Parks Summit in London, organised by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, Don Foster is also welcoming additional lottery funding to support parks saying:
I am delighted that £100million of extra lottery money will be going to support parks over the next three years, getting local people involved and protecting historic monuments. With the continuing green flags scheme these new measures are a real boost for the country’s parks.
Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Phil Barton said:
On behalf of the partners involved I’d like to say how thrilled we are to have won the licence to run the Green Flag Awards for the next five years.
We know how important this scheme is to the army of professional men and women who manage our green spaces across the country. We also understand that, in these difficult financial times, these professionals are facing significant challenges.
It is only by working together that we can maintain the high standards set by the Green Flag Award and it is against this backdrop that we are delighted to be working with key partners who will help strengthen the scheme. Through this partnership, we will continue to spread best practice and raise the standard of our parks and green spaces.
The new partnership believes the Green Flag Award is a model of how, by sharing good practice and celebrating and rewarding quality, we can raise the standards of public space in the UK, providing a range of benefits for local communities.
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund said:
I’m delighted the Minister has made this commitment to the future of the Green Flags Awards scheme as it plays a vital role in inspiring local authorities and community groups to maintain their parks. Since 1996, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have jointly invested over £640million to transform over 700 public open spaces. The continuation of the Award - which we regard as a mark of quality all parks we fund must meet - will help safeguard our past investment along with our new commitment of £100million over the next three years.
Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund said:
This is great news and encouraging evidence of the government’s commitment to the quality of places and spaces where people live, work and play.
Notes to editors
- Keep Britain Tidy has been running the Green Flag Award scheme since 2009, with the contract expiring this year. DCLG advertised the opportunity to run the scheme under licence and invited bids during the summer. We are today confirming Keep Britain Tidy has been successful in its bid to become the licence holder for the scheme over the next five years.