County Durham is leading the way after 12 of its parks and cemeteries received prestigious environmental awards.
The Durham County Council sites have been given Green Flag accreditation by the charity Keep Britain Tidy, in recognition of the excellent standards of maintenance, management and good practice which keep them looking great.
For the second year in a row there was a 100 per cent success rate for the 12 sites. This means the council has the most Green Flag accredited sites of all the North East local authorities; and the most of any authority in the country for its cemeteries and crematorium sites.
On top of its Green Flag, Blackhill and Consett Park also achieved a Green Heritage award. Green Heritage Site Accreditation is awarded to green spaces that are managed to Green Flag Award standards and also actively understand, identify, manage and promote the elements of their heritage that make them unique.
The Green Flag scheme was launched in 1996 and is managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Judges look at criteria such as maintenance, conservation and community involvement as well as open spaces being welcoming, healthy, safe and secure.
The full list of sites is as follows:
Hardwick Park, Sedgefield
Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street
Wharton Park, Durham City
Annfield Plain Park
Blackhill and Consett Park
Town Recreation Park, Bishop Auckland
Durham crematorium and cemetery
Ropery Lane Cemetery
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said:
“We are delighted that again so many of our parks and cemeteries have achieved Green Flag status from Keep Britain Tidy.
“Each flag awarded honours the volunteers who work in partnership with us to maintain our parks and open spaces in excellent condition.
“We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in County Durham for people to visit and enjoy.”