The Green Flag Award scheme was launched in 1996. The award is given annually to green spaces (that have been submitted for the award) if they meet the criteria. Notwithstanding the difficulties in maintaining parks, the Green Flag award remains popular.
The criteria for Green Flag awards are worth bearing in mind by landscape managers and landscape designers alike – particularly if the latter are hoping that a scheme will be adopted by a local authority or would like to get it recognised for their client. They can be summarised as follows:
- A welcoming place: Good and safe access. Good signage to and within the park. opportunities for access for all
- Healthy, safe and secure: Safe equipment and facilities. The means to deal with dog-fouling. Toilets, drinking water, first aid, emergency equipment and public telephones available and signposted
- Clean and well maintained
- Sustainable: including minimal pesticide use, minimal use of peat; and high horticultural standards
- Conservation and heritage: natural features, wildlife, landscapes, buildings and structures all appropriately conserved
- Community involvement evidenced
- Marketing strategy in place
- Management plan in place
Each year there may also be additional attention points. For instance in 2015 particular attention was paid to whether sites favoured bees as pollinators.
For a fuller description of the criteria and details of case study sites, see the Green Flag Awards website.