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Logo of the Green Flag award scheme

The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. The scheme was set up in 1996 to recognise and reward green spaces in England and Wales that met the laid down high standards.

It is also seen as a way of encouraging others to achieve the same high environmental standards, creating a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas. Any free to enter public park or green space is eligible to apply for an Award. Privately owned but publicly accessible parks have received awards such as Chavasse Park (Liverpool One) and Rutland Water (Anglian Water services Ltd).

The scheme is owned by the government through the Department for Communities and Local Government, though it is managed by other agents under contract. A pilot scheme was started in 2007, in Scotland, and three parks were given awards that year.[1] Both primary and secondary schools may be awarded the Green Flag in recognition of steps taken towards making the school increasingly eco-friendly.

Meanwhile, the award goes to other countries too for example to Germany (Erholungspark Marzahn and others).

Parks and green spaces are judged in April and May each year and the winners are announced in July. Parks must apply each year to keep their Green Flag Award, and winning sites are eligible to fly a Green Flag in the park for a year. Sites for a Green Flag Award are judged against eight key criteria:[2]

  • A welcoming place
  • Healthy, safe and secure
  • Clean and well maintained
  • Sustainability
  • Conservation and heritage
  • Community involvement
  • Marketing
  • Management


Green Pennant AwardEdit

The Green Flag Award for Boscombe Chine Gardens

The Green Flag Award itself is for public-run open spaces, but the same scheme runs an award for community/charity-run public spaces, such as Millennium Greens and Doorstep Greens called the Green Pennant Award. This scheme, started in 2002, has adapted the criteria for voluntary organisations.

Sites for a Green Pennant Award are judged against eight key criteria:[2]

  • A welcoming place
  • Healthy, safe and secure
  • Well maintained and clean
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Biodiversity and heritage
  • Community involvement
  • Achievement

Green Heritage Site AccreditationEdit

Green Flag Award-winning sites, which are over thirty years old, may also apply for Green Heritage Site Accreditation.[3]

Green Flag and social housingEdit

Green Flag is one of the steering group partners of Neighbourhoods Green, a partnership initiative which works with social landlords and housing associations to highlight the importance of, and raise the overall quality of design and management for, open and green space in social housing. Between 2012 and 2017 both parties will be working to expand Green Flag Award into the social housing sector.[4]

History and managementEdit

The scheme was originally run by volunteers from its founding in the 1990s. It was then sponsored by the government and run by the Civic Trust, till the latter went into administration in 2009. Since then, it has been managed by a consortium of Keep Britain Tidy, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, and the charity Greenspace. Judges continue to be unpaid volunteers with experience and competence in the management of parks.


  1. ^ "Green Flag award scheme". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  2. ^ a b Judging Criteria
  3. ^ English Heritage Website - Green Heritage Sites Microsite
  4. ^ Green Flag and Neighbourhoods Green, Neighbourhoods Green Website.

External linksEdit