SIX York parks are to fly the flag after being named among the best in the UK.

Rowntree and West Bank Parks, Clarence Gardens, Glen Gardens and Rawcliffe Country Park – all of which are City of York Council-run – have each been awarded the right to display the Green Flag national award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which recognises high standards in parks and green spaces across the country.

The accolade has also gone to the Planet Southbank community garden, at St Clement’s Church on Scarcroft Road, for the second year in a row. The Green Flag is awarded after parks are assessed on eight criteria, including how safe, welcoming and clean they are and their community role.

The council has said it must cut its parks bill by £750,000 over two years because of budget cuts and is looking for greater community involvement in their future management and operation, with the authority providing support and training.

The flags have already been raised at Rawcliffe Country Park, Glen Gardens and Rowntree Park. Ceremonies are due to be held later at West Bank Park and Clarence Gardens.

Coun Sonja Crisp said: “This award recognises and highlights that people in York are working alongside the council to improve on and benefit from green spaces of the very highest quality.

“A Green Flag award gives everybody involved in our parks national recognition for their hard work and dedication to create these fantastic places for all to enjoy.

“We will be building on this involvement to encourage our communities to have a greater say in the way parks and open spaces are managed and cared for in the future.”

Planet Southbank spokeswoman Cath Mortimer said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag award again. York has a network of community gardens and vegetable beds managed by Edible York and other organisations in partnership with the community.

“We are thrilled that Planet Southbank’s garden has been recognised as an example of the high standards volunteer-run spaces can achieve, and what we would really like is for more people to get involved in community growing and to come and help us out.”

To volunteer in York’s parks email or phone 01904 553386.

For details about Planet Southbank, see