Green Flag Award
Irish Parks Work with Nature to Increase Green Flag Award Numbers Nationwide
***Embargoed until 00.01 19th of July 2018***
Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and excellence of visitor attractions – the Green Flag Award for Parks is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.
Today, An Taisce Environment Education revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award for 2018.
A winner for the first time in 2017, it is Castletown Demesne in Kildare that provided this year’s venue to celebrate the 48 Irish Parks and Gardens from across the Republic of Ireland who are receiving their 2018 Green Flags.
The 2018 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, and green spaces from across the whole country. The 2018 season has seen an additional 12 applicant parks and gardens qualify for an award. this has resulted in some of our most significant landmark parks and estates being recognised for the quality of their recreational and historic green space, as well as newer up and coming green space projects that are equally worthy of recognition.
This year has also seen the initial introduction of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme into Ireland, allowing sites managed by volunteers and community groups to participate for the first time. The new Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as; Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. By providing our community green spaces with access to Green Flag Award best practice we will empower community groups to improve their local community and environment. Five of the 48 Green Flags awarded in 2018 were for the new Green Flag Community Award.
Building upon last year’s success, additional local authorities have entered the scheme for the first time in 2018. First time winners this year include town parks from County Kerry, as well as two of our national parks; Connemara and Ballycroy National Parks.
The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal – Damien English T.D., was in attendance today to open the award ceremony, and to support how the important role played by local authorities is being recognised by today’s award ceremony.
Minister English commented that “the Green Flag Awards encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. The act of planning, creating, and using a public utility, be it a community garden, park or open space, brings people, communities and neighbours together. It is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle to have access to, and to be able to enjoy, outdoor amenities particularly those which are so well tended and maintained”.
The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement. In Ireland the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme has been enthusiastically received by park management as it delivers major wins for the delivery of quality green spaces by respective parks and park departments. These include:
- The promotion and reward for best practice management
- Creation of a plan for improvements and future works
- The building of a collaborative network of park management nationally
- The implementation of environmental sustainability within park management
“In terms of urban renewal, and rural and community development, the Green Flag Award for Parks is a logical and sensible step towards supporting community engagement with green space improvement, and helps increase quality of life within our communities.” said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Award for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland.
Robert Moss also noted that this year’s introduction of the Green Flag Community Award is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development because “it builds a very constructive conduit for information, knowledge and skill share between the professional and voluntary green space management sectors within our society”.
Three of the 2018 Green Flag Award winning parks were also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Project Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks that have made an effort to support the local pollinating insect populations, or to promote their importance. Th e Pollinator Project Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is kindly sponsored by Young’s Nurseries. While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Castletown Demesne itself, operated by the Office of Public Works, that was the overall winner. This site features not only pollinator friendly planting and gardening, but also makes a great effort to educate the public and to promote these efforts through its website and social media.
If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01 4002212 or 086 3579663