Record-breaking green spaces
25 July 2011
Today, 1,288 parks and green spaces throughout the UK will receive the Green Flag Award or Community Award, a sign that even in these challenging times, the value of green space is widely acknowledged as vital to our communities.
The record number of sites receiving an award this year ensures that even more of us now have access to well-managed, high-quality green spaces. Award-winning sites will be raising their flags throughout Love Parks Week, which runs from the 23rd to the 31st July.
In recent years, research has proved that quality parks and green spaces play a vital role within local communities. They are assets contributing to the local environment, the local economy, individual’s health and well-being, and in bringing the community together.
This year alone has seen even more value placed on our green spaces. A major new study by The UK National Ecosystems Assessment (NEA) shows that the health benefits of living with a view of green space are worth up to £300 per person per year.
The Natural Environment White Paper published by the government in 2011, highlights further the importance of our green spaces and the benefits our natural environment has to us all – strengthening the significance of the part we all have to play in developing and protecting it.
Investment in parks and green spaces has the potential to impact on many aspects of the local environment. The increase in the number of Green Flag Award and Community Award sites this year is testament to the value and significance local authorities and the community as a whole are placing on their green spaces.
Communities and Local Government Minister, Andrew Stunell said: “This year, a record of number of parks and green spaces across the country have been awarded a Green Flag – a testament to all the hard work that local authorities and communities put in to maintaining them. The announcement of this year’s winners also acts as a timely reminder to communities everywhere that there are hundreds of top-quality parks out there to enjoy.
‘Given the important role parks and green spaces play in all our lives, I would like to thank all this year’s volunteer judges for their efforts. I share the joy of communities that, through the scheme, see their local areas flourish.”
Green Flag Plus Partnership chairman Phil Barton said: “The importance of good-quality green spaces cannot be overestimated. They are central to the growth of our communities, both socially and economically.
“The Green Flag Award Scheme, and its growth, is essential in driving up the standards of our parks and green spaces. Access to quality green space is something we all desire and the scheme plays a key role in providing it.
“In these challenging financial times it is heartening that the number of Green Flag and Community Awards continues to grow. As the value of green space and the role it plays in our communities strengthens, we must ensure these high standards remain.”