Edinburgh has been named as the local authority in Scotland with the highest number of quality parks and greenspaces, with 38, according to the Green Flag benchmark.
A total of 87 green spaces in Scotland were awarded a Green Flag Award this year, which rates parks on a range of criteria in particular the park's value and accessibility to local communities and its sound ecological management.
Across the UK there were 2,216 winners, eight more than last year, and the highest number since the UK government first introduced the awards in 1997. Edinburgh placed third overall in the UK in terms of total Green Flag Awards.
The capital historically does well in the Green Flag Awards, on account of its large number of parks and greenspaces and also the fact that the Council checks all its parks and gardens using Green Flag Award criteria.
Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, which administers the benchmark in Scotland, awarded Edinburgh's 38 parks and greenspaces with their Green Flag Award for 2023 today.
Green Flag winners included Princes Street Gardens (West and East), Inverleith Park, and Saughton Park. Further from the city centre, the list of winners included Hermitage and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve, Easter Craiglockhart Hill LNR, and Pentland Hills.
Of the Green Flag winners, 35 are maintained by Edinburgh City Council. The other three winners were NHS Lothian's Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Heriot Watt University's The Lawn & Central Woodlands, and Corstorphine Hill LNR, which is looked after by community organisation Friends of Corstorphine Hill with the Council.
Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker, said:
“I am delighted that 38 parks around Edinburgh have been recognised by Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Green Flag Awards scheme. The scheme recognises the quality of parks and greenspaces, their benefits to communities and the hard work of managers, staff and volunteers who keep them ticking over.
“Here in the Capital, we are truly spoiled for choice across the city when it comes to fantastic parks and green spaces. Each different space has a unique character and significance for the residents and visitors that it welcomes. As part of our Edinburgh's Thriving Greenspaces 2050 strategy, we are committed to doing everything we can to safeguard, preserve and improve these spaces so that people can continue to enjoy them, and communities feel involved in how they are looked after.”
Jamie Ormiston, Senior Awards Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:
“Congratulations to our 38 award winners in Edinburgh. Every park has a wide range of people visiting them and their requirements can vary. What is essential is that they are well maintained and provide a safe place for people to relax and have fun.
“Our award-winning parks have demonstrated they are worthy winners, meeting the criteria of the coveted international award. Receiving this prestigious benchmark recognises all the hard work that has gone into maintaining and managing these precious green open spaces.
“It is imperative that Scotland reconnects with the natural world if we are to fix the biodiversity crisis and these green spaces will provide a space for people of all ages to do that.
“Green spaces are so important for our physical and mental wellbeing and it’s fantastic to see such a wide range of parks and green spaces across the entire length of the country. I encourage everyone to make the most of them this summer.”