First Green Flag Awards of 2016 announced

First Green Flag Awards of 2016 announced

Eleven parks and green spaces have been awarded the coveted Green Flag Award in Australia and New Zealand. It is the Green Flag Award's 20thanniversary this year and these are the first awards to be announced for this special occasion.

Today, the Green Flag Award Scheme has unveiled this year's Award winners in Australia and New Zealand. The Green Flag Award is the international mark of a quality park or green space.

In total, seven parks in Australia and four in New Zealand, have met the high standards required to be awarded the Green Flag Award.

Amongst this year's recipients of the Award is Pirrama Park in Sydney who have won the award for the first time.

The Green Flag Award Scheme was launched in England in 1996, with the first awards presented in 1997. Today's winners join over 1600 Green Flag Awards across the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

The Green Flag Award is judged by 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.

Ingrid Sieler of Green Flag Award Australia & New Zealand said:

"We know the significant contribution that public parks make to healthy lifestyles. Ensuring everyone, wherever they live, has access to quality parks and green spaces is so important.

"Achieving a Green Flag Award not only demonstrates that the park is of a high standard but that it meets the many needs of the local community. The winning parks provide wonderful opportunities for families to get outside and be active, meet with friends or participate in neighbourhood events."

International Green Flag Award Scheme manager, Paul Todd said:

"We are delighted to be celebrating winners in Australia and New Zealand for the schemes 20th anniversary, it is fantastic that the Award expands to more countries every year. All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."