Record number of parks awarded Green Flag status

19 July 2023

A record number of parks and green spaces across the UK have reached the high standards required to receive a coveted Green Flag Award in 2023.

The scheme is celebrating as 2,216 parks – the largest number since the scheme began 27 years ago – are proudly preparing to raise their flags.

A full list of Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces is available here.

The Green Flag Award, the international quality mark for parks and green spaces, has seen successful submissions from local authorities and other land managers across the country for a range of sites, from world-famous city parks to small, local green spaces.

Four parks that received their first Green Flag Award when the scheme was launched in 1996 have flown it every year since. They are:

  • Cockington Country Park – Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust
  • Worden Park – South Ribble Borough Council
  • Queen’s Park – City of London
  • Highgate Wood – City of London

They are joined by parks and green spaces as diverse as:

  • Rainbow Gardens, managed by Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Trust in England
  • Chirk Station, Wrexham (the first station in the UK) in Wales
  • Zetland Park, Falkirk in Scotland
  • Mayfield Park, managed by Southampton City Council, in England

In addition, 135 of the winners have also received a Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the management of historic features, supported in England by Historic England. These include:

  • Rivington Terrace Gardens managed by Rivington Heritage Trust with Groundwork
  • St James’s Park and Green Park managed by The Royal Parks

To achieve Green Heritage Site Accreditation, winners have to understand and take action to conserve the heritage value of their site. They also need to help people to understand and enjoy its unique history, from nationally important parks to local green spaces that help tell the story of places and communities.

Parks are a vitally important part of this country’s green infrastructure, providing opportunities to improve physical and mental health even in the most built-up urban environments. It is estimated that active visits to parks in England result in £2billion of avoided costs of ill-health every year.

We are delighted that as the NHS celebrates its 75th anniversary two of this year’s flags are being presented to Doncaster and Bassetlaw Trust Hospitals who have recognised the health benefits of green spaces to staff, patients and their visitors.

That’s why it’s important that parks are managed to the Green Flag Award standard which rewards those sites that meet the needs of the community, are well maintained, safe and provide people with the opportunity to lead healthy lifestyles.

Commenting on the announcement of this year’s winners, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “Our parks continue to provide a vital sanctuary for communities to play, grow and bond.

“The news that a record number of parks in the UK have achieved the Green Flag Award standard reflects the tireless work of those tasked with looking after these national assets.

“At Keep Britain Tidy, we’re very proud of the Green Flag Award – a crucial component in ensuring the continuing quality of our parks and green spaces, making sure they are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible. We believe it should be a minimum standard for every park – and that everyone, wherever they live, should have access to high-quality green space.

Parks play a key role in the health and wellbeing of the nation not only in the physical and mental health of us all, but also in the environmental health of the planet.

Congratulations to all this year’s winners.”

Suzy Brain England OBE, Chair of the Board of Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to have achieved Green Flag Award at two of our hospitals. The spaces that were developed as Covid-19 and baby loss memorials provide a calm and peaceful sanctuary at the heart of our busy hospitals. The benefit to people’s mental health in a hospital setting cannot be underestimated. I would like to congratulate all involved in their development and maintenance.”

Dr Erika Diaz Petersen, Historic England’s Principal National Landscape Adviser, said: “Congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s Green Flag Awards. They are the recognised standard for the management and maintenance of parks and greenspaces, which are so important to the health and wellbeing of communities and to our local environment. We are pleased to join in celebrating the achievement of this year’s winners, including those that have achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England.

“The Green Heritage Site Accreditation recognises the additional achievement of award-winning sites to identify, conserve, enhance, celebrate and promote green space heritage. This is so important in supporting local pride and connection to the places where we live, work and play.”

Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd MBE said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved on achieving a Green Flag Award.

All our winners provide vital green space for communities, bring people together and create opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles. The staff and volunteers do so much to ensure these precious parks and green spaces maintain the high standards of the Green Flag Award and everyone involved should feel extremely proud of their achievement.”

We’re proud of the 53 Lancashire parks and green spaces on the Green Flag Awards list, see all the North West England Parks here. Find out more about Wyre’s Green Flag spaces here.

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