Call to nominate best parks for top award

John Davidson with rubbish dumped at Muirhouse's Linear Park. Picture: Toby Williams
John Davidson with rubbish dumped at Muirhouse's Linear Park. Picture: Toby Williams
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Park lovers are being given the chance to put their favourite sites forward for a national Green Flag award to preserve and enhance them for future generations.

For the first time, environment chiefs are calling on ­residents to offer public nominations for the coveted status as part of a drive to increase the 26-strong list of Edinburgh parks boasting a Green Flag.

Popular parks will still be assessed centrally to ensure they are fit for recognition by the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

But city leaders said they wanted to involve members of the public in the award process as much as possible.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said: “We want to hear the views of the people that use and enjoy their local park.

“Our success in the Green Flag awards over the last few years wouldn’t have happened without the dedication and involvement of local people who are often the most ­passionate advocates of their green spaces.

“So we’re asking people to get in touch with us and tell us why their local park should be put forward next year for a Green Flag award.”

She added: “Hopefully this will encourage people to get involved, whether through the friends of parks groups or even setting up one of their own.”

Parks are judged on tough criteria such as whether they are welcoming, safe and secure, sustainable and supportive of conservation and heritage.

The call for public ­nominations came as Keep Scotland Beautiful published its 2013 list of parks which had successfully secured Green Flag status, with around half located in the Capital.

Residents and political ­leaders welcomed the idea and said it would make a big ­difference to improving parks across Edinburgh.

John Davidson, vice-chair of Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse, said the area’s ­Millennium (or Linear) Park, the newest official green space in the city, had recently ­suffered as a result of litter and fly-tipping.

But after the ward councillor Cammy Day expressed support, Mr Davidson predicted locals would be keen to put the park forward for a Green Flag. He said: “It would make a 100 per cent difference – people here care about their park very much but it has to be a safe and clean environment to be in.

“We’re looking at setting up a Friends of Linear Park group to improve things and I think there would be quite a lot of local support for going for a green flag.”

Cllr Gavin Corbett, Green member for Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart, said: “This is a welcome step. A big part of how Green Flag status is assessed is how well the park involves the local ­community, so getting the community involved in the actual ­nomination process should help that.

“One of the main ways for our parks to flourish in future is surely to get many more of the people who enjoy them involved in how they are ­maintained and developed.”