Edinburgh cleans up at Keep Scotland Beautiful awards bash

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The Capital’s finest parks have scooped a coveted Green Flag award for their natural beauty and quality green spaces.

Edinburgh won more than 45 per cent of the awards from across Scotland, with 33 out of 71 green spaces getting an award for exceptional parks.

Lauriston Castle Park, which has received a Green Flag Award from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Lauriston Castle Park, which has received a Green Flag Award from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

The accolade from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) recognises a clean, safe outdoor space and champions access to quality green and open spaces the length and breadth of the country.

Edinburgh parks now flying the Green Flag include Braidburn Valley, Craigmillar Castle Park, and Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve.

Fairmilehead Park and Lauriston Castle Park picked up the award for the first time.

Edinburgh’s transport and environment vice-convener, Councillor Karen Doran, said: “We are so lucky. Winning this accolade for our city rests very much on the hard work of the staff from the parks department, along with the enormous contribution made by the many Friends of Parks groups and other volunteers.

“Our green spaces are vital to the wellbeing of the residents of a city and the Green Flag scheme is a great incentive for maintaining the quality and accessibility of parks.”

The Green Flag Award, administered in Scotland by Keep Scotland Beautiful, is the benchmark for green spaces.

It promotes the community value of well-maintained parks from supporting exercise and improving mental wellbeing to encouraging children to play.

Fairmilehead Park, which received the award for the first time, serves the Caistane, Oxgangs and Comiston Springs communities and came into council ownership in 1964. Lauriston Castle Park surrounds the 16th-century tower house situated near Cramond.

Midlothian’s Memorial Park Loanhead and Vogrie Country Park were also awarded Green Flags.

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Scotland’s parks provide a valuable resource to communities across the country and access to quality green space is vital in helping to tackle some of the health and wellbeing challenges we face.

“I would like to congratulate the successful Edinburgh entries and all 71 parks from across Scotland for achieving this prestigious benchmark.

“The Green Flag Award scheme sets the standard for the management of our 
outdoor spaces and recognises the hard work of everyone involved.”

The award acknowledges that well maintained parks help support healthy and stable communities and provide a range of health benefits, enabling exercise, improving mental wellbeing and encouraging children to play.

John Howie, organisational lead for health equit at NHS Health Scotland, said: “Where we live and spend our time has an important influence on our health and wellbeing.

“Good public places tend to be well looked after, are safe, attractive and accessible and strive to offer something for everyone.”