Public is essential to renewal of green spaces, says ODPM pundit

Local authority relationships with public are key to government policy

Green spaces are fundamental to government policy but it is the partnership between local authorities and the public that makes it all possible, says a leading civil servant. Head of public space policy and promotion at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) Tim Pope was speaking at the first of this year’s Green Flag award ceremonies. He said: “Parks and green spaces are fundamental to the desire of people to have a nice place to live. Our vision is that every open space will achieve a green flag. “Green spaces are fundamental to the policy of the ODPM but it is the public and council leadership that make this possible. Green spaces are at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. We are trying to reclaim these spaces for our communities.” He added that there has been a review of the whole Green Flag scheme, which has concluded that the basic idea is sound. Earlier he told more than 200 parks and gardens officials that the day was a “celebration of park management and the creation of a diverse range of open spaces”. He congratulated the winners and praised all parks, gardens and open spaces staff for their work. Chairman of CABE Space Dickon Robinson said the Green Flag criteria had now been accepted as the national standard for open spaces. He said the review had shown the awards were in good health but changes would probably be made: “We must streamline the application process. It is very paper-heavy.” The Green Flag awards recognise and reward standards of excellence in parks and green spaces. They are independently run by the Civic Trust with CABE Space as the main funding partner. The Green Heritage award scheme is for gardens at least 30 years old and other sites of historic interest. It is sponsored by English Heritage. The Green Pennant awards are for green spaces managed by voluntary and community groups. All three awards are restricted to England and Wales.

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