Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 807 The History of the Green Flag Award In 1997, when the first Green Flags were awarded, the green space sector in the United Kingdom was in a parlous state. Decades of underfunding had left many once proud and beautiful historic city centre parks derelict, dangerous, no-go areas, and many other green spaces neglected or barely maintained. Experts with a shared interest in promoting natural spaces from a range of backgrounds came together in response to this decline. The Scheme was directed by a Steering Group made up of individuals and representatives of larger organisations, led by Mark Davis of the Pesticides Action Network UK, who worked closely with the following individuals to develop and drive the Scheme forward in these early years: Nick Reeves – ILAM (The Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management) and then of CIWEM (The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management); Ken McAnespie – KMC Consultancy; George Barker – English Nature; Allan Tyler – independent consultant; and Liz Greenhalgh – independent consultant. Their intention was to establish agreed standards of good management, to help to justify and evaluate funding and to bring people back into the parks. And it worked. As the Standard became established, other green spaces began to apply for the Award, and now Green Flags fly over parks, cemeteries and crematoria, recreation grounds, canals, reservoirs, educational campuses, hospital grounds, housing estates, nature reserves and allotments. There is no limit on the size of the site; they currently range from less than one hectare to thousands of hectares. In 2008 the Scheme started to expand as pilot studies into other countries. The Green Flag Award is managed under license from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)1 by Keep Britain Tidy. Keep Britain Tidy have partnered with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to deliver the Scheme in the UK. Relevance of the Green Flag Award Today Nowadays, across the world, the importance of equal access to green and other open spaces has been highlighted in relation to healthy living, especially the far-reaching impacts of stress, mental health and obesity. For children, experts recognise the importance of natural play and the freedom to play imaginatively, as well as the physiological development benefits of outdoor activity. National governments are investigating the knock-on economic benefits of wellbeing, health and exercise, as well as the impact of volunteers working in this sector – the way that public services are delivered in times of austerity and the positive impacts on the volunteers themselves, especially amongst older otherwise isolated individuals or younger people making a start in a world of work rather than worklessness. The Green Flag Award also sets out to recognise, understand and promote our national heritage in biodiversity, landscapes and buildings, in all settings – appreciating and understanding history and its related multicultural and social bonds. Well managed green spaces combine to provide a wider range of ecosystems which feed into vital infrastructure networks at a global level. Locally, they have huge benefits for nature, in establishing wildlife corridors, flood plains, good practice in biodiversity management and horticultural and arboricultural management for wildlife and sustainability – through choices made in planting, landscaping and design that reduce our environmental impact in the future. 1 DCLG have pledged to continue to support the Green Flag Award Scheme in The Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature 2012 paragraph 4.25