Green Flag dispute to be resolved

The legal challenge to the department of Communities & Local Government's (CLG) Green Flag Award scheme is due to be resolved following arbitration this month, after a six-month battle.

The CLG should then be able to confirm who is running the parks award scheme, six months after parks minister Baroness Andrews was due to announce whether the Civic Trust would carry on managing it or a GreenSpace-led consortium would take over.

HW understands the Civic Trust challenged CLG over the process behind the award of the contract to the GreenSpace consortium. None of the parties have been able to comment since. Civic Trust is still likely to run the scheme this year.

Civic Trust marketing manager Caroline Williams said: "The contract still hasn't been awarded. We're keen to see the scheme up and running and carrying on. Everyone is committed to it and it's been a successful past 10 years.

"At the moment it's business as usual handling expressions of interest, but that's separate from the new contract. Future elements are down to CLG."

Judging is due to take place in April and May. Sites have yet to be allocated, but Williams said entries could break the 1,000 barrier for the first time. CLG has asked the Civic Trust to continue managing expressions of interest from parks that want to apply for the award.

GreenSpace director Paul Bramhill could not comment but HW believes nothing has been decided and CLG should announce by the end of the month who is the preferred bidder. The Civic Trust is likely to run Green Flag this year, but 2010 is still open.

Parks consultant and Green Flags judge Sid Sullivan said he had received a letter from the Civic Trust in November saying it was to collect entries. But he added: "What's going to happen, I've no idea. I suspect there is a dispute. Civic Trust has done a good job - and it was not an easy job."

CLG did not comment.


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