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A record number of Scottish parks will be flying a Green Flag this year, with 59 parks and green spaces awarded the honour. Parks all over Scotland won flags, with Dumfries and Galloway, Stirling and North Lanarkshire represented amongst the winners for the first time.

The Green Flag Award, administered in Scotland by Message Matters’ client Keep Scotland Beautiful, is the benchmark for a quality green space. This year’s awarded parks are run by local authorities, park managers, a university and a community group.

Entrants are assessed by volunteer judges who usually have a background in parks management, conservation or ecology. They judge against eight criteria testing whether the park or green space is: welcoming; healthy, safe and secure; clean and well-maintained; sustainable; manages conservation and heritage; has community involvement; markets itself, and has good management.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:

“Scotland’s green spaces are going from strength to strength, with more parks flying the Green Flag than ever before. This is a reflection of how determined an increasing number of local authorities and park managers now are to make their parks the highest quality green spaces they can be.

“All over Scotland people are caring for their towns, cities and green spaces. Whether it’s through Green Flag or our other programmes such as Clean Up Scotland and Beautiful Scotland, local people are raising the bar and making their communities great places to live in.”

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, said:

“It’s great to see that the number of Green Flag Awards in Scotland is increasing each year. The award-winners are also setting an example which I hope many others will follow.

“None of this would be happening without the endeavours of Keep Scotland Beautiful and I thank them for their hard work in facilitating these awards across Scotland. The availability of high quality greenspace and parks is very important for the health and well-being of the people of Scotland. Long may these commendable efforts continue.”