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29 July 2013, 08:09
More than 50 parks and green spaces on the South Coast have been given Green Flag status.
Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has unveiled this year's winners of the Award - the mark of a safe, clean and high quality green space in the UK.
Across the country, it's been a record-breaking year, meaning more parks and greens spaces than ever before will be flying a Green Flag. First-time winners in the region include Mayfield Park in Southampton.
The record number of UK sites receiving an award this year means that, despite the challenging economic times, even more people now have access to well-managed, high-quality green spaces on their doorsteps.
Throughout the whole of the UK, the number of award-winning sites increased with 1,447 parks, gardens, allotments, cemeteries, universities and shopping centres now flying the flag, up from 1,424 last year.
A full list of all award-winning sites can be found here.
The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by an army of 800 volunteer expert judges who visit applicant sites and assess them against the eight criteria, including cleanliness, sustainability and conservation.
The launch of the awards this year comes in the same week that thousands of people up and down the country are celebrating the fantastic parks and green spaces we have in this country during Love Parks Week, which is now also run by Keep Britain Tidy.
Keep Britain Tid's Green Flag Award manager Paul Todd said:
"It's another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Awards and this is something well worth celebrating.
"It is fantastic - more people than ever before in the region can play, relax and enjoy quality green space on their doorstep.
"The parks sector is facing some tough challenges, particularly with the cuts that local authorities are implementing, so it is heartening to see that they are committed to maintaining and improving standards in our nation's green space and this is shown by the number of sites that are meeting the Green Flag Award standard."