The 2021 Green Flag Awards were announced today, Wednesday, November 17th, by An Taisce Environmental Education, acknowledging Ireland’s best public parks and gardens.
Not alone has Waterford been successful in retaining its two Green Flags for the Waterford Greenway and Kilbarry Nature Park 2021/2022, but Kilbarry Nature Park was the overall winner in the Pollinator Projector Award.
International accreditation for public park excellence in Ireland has increased again this year, to reach over 100 accredited public green spaces. Ireland was today awarded a total of 103 Green Flag sites, comprised of 84 formal public Green Flag Park sites, along with 19 volunteer run Green Community Sites.
Three of the 2021 Green Flag Award winning parks were also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Plan Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks or Gardens that have made an effort to support their local pollinating insects, or to promote their importance. The Pollinator Plan Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is sponsored by Young’s Nurseries.
While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Kilbarry Nature Park, operated by Waterford City and County Council, that was the overall winner. This nature park is located upon the site of a rehabilitated landfill site, so it is great to see that a former environmental problem has evolved into an environmental asset.
Fergus Galvin, Director of Services Waterford City and County Council, highlighted the excellent work done by the presentation staff in securing this award, “Each member of the presentation team takes pride in the maintenance and appearance of our parks and open spaces, and this award is testament to the great effort shown by them.”
“These awards not only showcase the calibre of wonderful natural amenities that we have in Waterford, they also highlight the importance of shared public spaces as a place for people to relax and meet up safely outdoors, and experience the wonder of nature on our doorstep.”
2021 has also seen the successful roll-out of Green Heritage Site Accreditation across Ireland.
With the support of the NPWS and the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, 7 Irish Green Flag sites are now accredited to Green Heritage Accreditation standard. Green Heritage Site Accreditation is awarded to public green spaces of historical and cultural significance.
Once again more Green Flag Awards have been secured by Irish Parks and Gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996.
This year participating countries include; Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. In Ireland the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development.