Sara Hawthorn 29 July 2014

Record number of sites win Green Flag

Britain’s parks and public spaces are awash with green after a record number of UK spaces were awarded Green Flag Awards.

A total of 1,476 awards were given to a variety of parks, universities, shopping centres and community gardens including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stormont Estate in Belfast, and Kings Norton Cemetery and Sutton Coldfield Crematorium in Birmingham.

The Green Flag Awards, run by Keep Britain Tidy, are judged by over 700 volunteers who assess each site against eight different criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness and community involvement. This year’s awards coincide with the Love Parks Week, which runs from July 25- August 3.

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: 'It's another record-breaking year for the scheme. This is something well worth celebrating and testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, supported by some amazing volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.

‘The parks sector is facing some tough challenges so it is heartening to see that they are committed to maintaining and improving standards.’

At Kings Norton and Sutton Coldfield significant work has been carried out, including improved signage and initiatives such as the Christmas Memorial Tree at the Kings Norton cemetery, where people can place cards in memory of loved ones buried there.

Cllr Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet minister for development, transport and the economy said: ‘A great deal of effort and resource has gone into this quality enhancing initiative and I am delighted that these efforts have been recognised with such a prestigious national award. As a result of this work, the council has been able to provide an enhanced service at both Kings Norton Cemetery and Sutton Coldfield Crematorium for people using these facilities.’

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