Seven of North Tyneside’s parks are once again the proud recipients of the prestigious Green Flag award.
The award is the international benchmark of quality in a park or open green space and is given out each year to parks which meet the very highest standards.
The Rising Sun Country Park, Benton Quarry, Marden Quarry, Killingworth Lakeside Parks, Wallsend Parks, Northumberland Park, and Chirton and Redburn Dene Parks will proudly fly the flag again in 2021/22 after meeting strict criteria.
A record 2,127 parks and green spaces have been achieved Green Flag status this year as the scheme, run by Keep Britain Tidy, celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The flag is a sign to the public that a green space boasts the highest possible environmental standards and has good visitor facilities.
Welcoming the announcement of the awards, Councillor Sandra Graham, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “I am delighted that our parks have retained their Green Flag awards again in 2021/22.
“Like the Blue Flag that flies above our beaches, the Green Flag is a signal to the public that they can expect the very highest standards when they visit one of our parks or green spaces.
“These spaces are cherished by many people across the borough, and they took on added importance during the dark days of the pandemic, giving people an escape into nature and some respite from their confinement at home.
“This award is made possible by the community and the council working together to maintain incredibly high standards in North Tyneside and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in this achievement.
“I’d also like to thank Jerry Dronsfield, who led our parks service with great distinction until his retirement earlier this year and played a key role in achieving the Green Flag standard and improving all our parks in North Tyneside.”
Research carried out by YouGov for Keep Britain Tidy over the summer has revealed that having access to a quality park or green space helped improve people’s mental health with almost six in ten (59%) saying they felt less stressed when using the park and 55% saying they felt more positive in general.
The survey also showed that more than half of people (53%) visit a park or green space at least once a week and more than nine in ten (93%) think that parks and green spaces are important to their local community.
Commenting on the announcement of this year’s winners, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “As Green Flag Award celebrates 25 years of raising the standard, Keep Britain Tidy is delighted to be the custodian of a scheme that does so much to ensure our parks and green spaces go from strength to strength.
“At a time when parks have been at the heart of every community across the country it is perhaps not surprising that 95% of the public thinks that their local parks and green spaces need to be protected.
“This is why the Green Flag Award is so important. It ensures that parks and green spaces are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to the next 25 years.
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
In celebration of this year’s announcement, Keep Britain Tidy is asking buildings and monuments around the UK to #GoGreenForParks today to show appreciation for the spaces that mean so much to people. Landmarks including Alexandra Palace and Bradford Town Hall will be ‘going green’ tonight.