Parks minister confirms five more years for Green Flag Awards

The Government has agreed to renew the Green Flag Award licence with Keep Britain Tidy for another five years.

Centenary Park: new facility created from redundant allotment site in deprived area in Newbold-on-Avon, Rugby
Centenary Park: new facility created from redundant allotment site in deprived area in Newbold-on-Avon, Rugby

New parks and green spaces minister Marcus Jones revealed the news at an event today in Rugby, which has four Green Flag winning parks, many of which were originally derelict sites.

He said: "I am very happy to confirm that the Green Flag Awards will be continuing, championing Britain’s excellent parks and green spaces and the people behind them.

"These awards are valuable not least because they reward local authorities and communities for their dedication to the great outdoors - and give locals and tourists an easy way to find quality spaces to get outside, exercise and play"

The awards have been running for 20 years and have spread beyond parks. Universities, social housing developments, cemeteries, canals, and shopping centres are among the 1,797 green spaces which have them. This year Milton Keynes became the first town to gain a Green Flag for an entire town network of parks.   

Jones, who became parks minister in the reshuffle following the snap General Election, met members of The Newbold on Avon Community Association at Centenary Park in Rugby this morning. The association worked with Rugby Council’s parks team to raise more than £215,000 to transform a neglected allotment into a an award-winning 2.7 hectare park with a large play area, a games area, a green gym and nature area, including flowers to attract bees and butterflies. The park opened in April last year and gained a Green Flag just a few months later. 

Centenary Park was also named the most improved park by Fields in Trust in 2016 and received an award from the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs for providing an excellent home for bees and other insect life.

Keep Britain chief executive Tidy Allison Ogden-Newton said: "We welcome the extension to the Green Flag Award licence as we know how important the scheme has been in the renaissance of our parks over the past 20 years.

"We are delighted that the announcement is being made in Rugby as they have shown how people benefit from the provision of quality parks and green spaces in particular in encouraging people to live healthier and more active lives."

Jones, who is due to give his response to the report and recommendations of the Communities and Local Government Committee following its parks inquiry when Parliament returns from the summer recess, added: "My visit to Rugby demonstrated how parks and green spaces can breathe life into our towns and cities – contributing to the health and well-being of the community.

"I am very much looking forward to outlining our future plans to support Britain’s parks in due course." 

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