Fly­ing the green flag

Hilling­don re­ceives the high­est num­ber of green flag awards

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

DUR­ING a cer­e­mony at the new Pol­ish War Me­mo­rial Gar­den on Satur­day at­tended by the Mayor of Hilling­don, the coun­cil had plenty to cel­e­brate as the park was given its own Green Flag.

It joins 42 other venues scoop­ing the ac­coloade

HILLING­DON now boasts the high­est num­ber of Green Flag awarded parks and green spa­ces in the world with a stag­ger­ing 42 scoop­ing the pres­ti­gious ac­co­lade.

Dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the new Pol­ish War Me­mo­rial Gar­den on Satur­day Sep­tem­ber 3, Hilling­don Coun­cil had plenty to cel­e­brate as the park was given its own Green Flag.

The park in South Ruis­lip was opened last Sep­tem­ber by the leader of the coun­cil Ray Pud­di­foot and the Am­bas­sador of the Repub­lic of Poland in London, His Ex­cel­lency Wi­told Sobkow.

Hilling­don Coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for fi­nance, prop­erty and busi­ness ser­vices, Coun­cil­lor Jonathan Bianco, said: “The Green Flag awards are the high­est ac­co­lade for parks and green spa­ces and it’s a phe­nom­e­nal achieve­ment for the coun­cil to gain eight new flags in one year and have more than 40 in to­tal.

“We’d re­ally like to thank our coun­cil of­fi­cers and com­mu­nity and vol­un­teer groups for all their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion in mak­ing this hap­pen.”

The bor­ough has seen the num­ber of parks with Green Flag sta­tus jump from 34 last year to 42 now.

Mayor of Hilling­don Cllr John Hens­ley laid a wreath dur­ing the cer­e­mony and was joined by Cllr Pud­di­foot and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Pol­ish Air­force.

Hilling­don al­ready boasted more Green Flags than any other lo­cal au­thor­ity in the UK, but now the awards have opened up to other coun­tries it is now top of the in­ter­na­tional list.

The Green Flag Awards were first launched in 1996 and there are now win­ners in the Repub­lic of Ire­land, Ger­many, The Nether­lands, Fin­land, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emi­rates.

The war me­mo­rial was once waste­land trans­formed by the coun­cil to hon­our Pol­ish armed forces who lost their lives at war.

Other newly awarded parks in the bor­ough are North­wood Re­cre­ation Ground, Philpots Farm, Hogs Back, Pinn Meadow, Pinkwell Park, West Dray­ton Cemetary and Park Road Green.

The green flag scheme was set up in 1996 to recog­nise and re­ward green spa­ces that met the spec­i­fied 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 a Green Flag Award.

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.

They are judged against eight key cri­te­ria: a wel­com­ing place; healthy, y, safe and se­cure; clean and d well main­tained; d; sus­tain­abil­ity; con­ser­va­tion and her­itage; com­mu­nity in­volve­ment; mar­ket­ing and man­age­ment.

n WININNG SITES: East­cote House gar­dens has been at the heart of East­cote for 500 years; Manor Farm is Hilling­don’s flag­ship her­itage and cul­ture site and Ruil­sip Lido is a 60-acre lake with sandy beaches and a nar­row gauge rail­way around it, on the edge of Ruis­lip woods

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