26 July 2022

 2208 green spaces across the UK to fly Green Flags with pride

A record number of parks and green spaces across the UK reached the high standards required for a coveted Green Flag Award in 2022.

The scheme is celebrating as 2208 parks – the largest number since the scheme began 26 years ago – are proudly preparing to raise their flags.

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 unique 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 Overleigh Old Cemetery in Cheshire, Kings Heath Park in Birmingham and Walthamstow Wetlands.

In addition 133 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:

  • The Royal Pump Room Gardens – Warwick District Council
  • Birkenhead Park – Wirral Borough Council
  • Alexandra Park – Hastings Borough Council

Never before has the value of free to access parks and green spaces been more important, with parks continuing to provide a sanctuary for communities to engage with nature, improve their physical and mental health, play and come together.

That’s why it’s important that parks are managed to the Green Flag Award standard, which recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces.

The announcement comes as new research carried out by YouGov for Keep Britain Tidy revealed:

  • 84% of dog walkers in Great Britain said going to the park made them more relaxed, while 86% said it made them happier.
  • 88% of parents of children aged four to 11 said going to the park makes their child happier, and 65% said it made their child calmer.
  • 22% of parents said a park that feels safe was the main thing they looked for when choosing where to visit
  • 61% of parents said the reason they took their child or children to the park is because it is free.

Commenting on the announcement of this year’s winners, Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “Parks are an essential part of our green infrastructure, playing a key role in our environmental sustainability.

“They are often the beating heart of a community, providing countless benefits to people and wildlife.

“Importantly, they provide a green haven for everybody to enjoy, regardless of their age, social status or ability to pay for access. It’s clear from our research that for quality green spaces to meaningfully contribute to our health and wellbeing, they must be universally accessible and fit for purpose.

“The Green Flag Award is a vital 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.

“The news that a record number have achieved the Green Flag Award standard is testament to the hard work of staff and volunteers who look after these national assets.”

The winners will be celebrated this week at three awards ceremonies at the National Memorial Arboretum, Doncaster and Lambeth.

The Green Flag Award Scheme, managed by Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, sets the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.