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 in September 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.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, said:
We are very proud that Norfolk follows the City of London in having its flag flown outside the Department for Communities and Local Government. Norfolk is second to none when it comes to combining a strong county identity while being staunchly English. Norfolk always has a presence in the heart of London - it is a Norfolk man that stands atop Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square, honoured as this country’s greatest naval hero.
The Leader of Norfolk County Council, Derrick Murphy, said:
It is fitting that 1 of England’s great shire counties should follow the City of London in having its flag flown outside the Department for Communities and Local Government. Norfolk is in its own way extraordinary, boasting a Royal residence at Sandringham, rich history and heritage, outstanding coast, countryside and waterways with the fine city of Norwich at its heart.
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 Norfolk 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