1,400 parks celebrate Green Flag
More than 1,400 UK parks and green spaces have been given a "Green Flag Award" - a record number for the scheme which marks out quality public areas.
Some 1,448 parks, cemeteries, universities, shopping centres and community gardens have been awarded a green flag by 800 volunteer judges who visited sites and judged them on eight criteria, including cleanliness, sustainability and conservation.
Liverpool ONE shopping centre's Chavasse Park is a first-time winner of a green flag this year, as is Letham Glen in Fife and Margam Park in Neath Port Talbot.
Ealing, in London, has secured the most new sites meeting the standard of any borough in the UK, with seven new sites flying the flag this year.
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: "It's another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Awards and this is something worth celebrating.
"It is testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women supported by an army of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep our public green spaces looking great.
"The parks sector is facing some tough challenges, particularly with the cuts that local authorities are implementing, so it is heartening to see that they are committed to maintaining and improving standards in our nation's green space and this is shown by the number of sites that are meeting the Green Flag Award standard."
Communities minister Don Foster said: "We have some of the greatest parks in the world in this country, so I am delighted that a record number are meeting the high standards needed to receive a Green Flag Award - a scheme supported by this Government.
"Our parks offer opportunities to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together, and in this recent hot weather have been particularly important for those who do not have the luxury of their own garden to relax in.
"So I'm pleased that so many are being rewarded, and hope the Green Flag Awards continue to challenge other parks to raise their game."