Council aiming to increase number of Green Flag parks

Only one council-run park in Enfield currently has the prestigious award, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Forty Hall Park is currently the only council-run park in Enfield with a Green Flag Award
Forty Hall Park is currently the only council-run park in Enfield with a Green Flag Award

The number of parks in Enfield with official Green Flag status is set to rise under new civic centre plans.

Enfield Council aims to increase the number of publicly-accessible parks achieving the internationally-recognised quality mark by at least one per year, as part of a plan to protect and enhance the borough’s environmental assets.

The Green Flag Award is presented to well-managed parks and green spaces by charity Keep Britain Tidy. Only one of the borough’s council-run parks, Forty Hall Park, currently has the award. In contrast, all 22 of Haringey’s council-run parks and open spaces attained Green Flag status last year.

The target was set out in an update on the borough’s ‘blue and green strategy’, which was presented to the environment and climate action scrutiny panel on Tuesday.

Conservative panel member Edward Smith said he strongly supported the aim to increase the number of parks with Green Flag status. He asked how many had the potential to become Green Flag sites and called for more detail on the plans.

Marcus Harvey, the council’s senior operations manager, said he would like to think all of the heritage parks would be appropriate for Green Flag status, in addition to smaller parks.

He added: “We need to get some support from our community groups, friends of parks, and see how they want to approach the award system.”

Published last year, the ten-year blue and green strategy aims to make Enfield the “greenest borough in London” and boost “blue and green infrastructure” by 25%.

But Conservative panel member Andrew Thorp said that while the strategy contained some “really great stuff”, it was difficult to get residents interested in it because of proposals contained in the draft Local Plan to build thousands of homes on parts of Enfield’s Green Belt.

Charith Gunawardena, a Green Party panel member, pointed out that much of the borough’s green space is in the west and asked what was being done to improve green space in the east, including in Edmonton.

In response, Marcus said it was being achieved through discussions with developers. He explained: “Where we identify a deficit [in green space], if we can achieve it through the actual planning of the new development, we will address it through that manner. If not, we will address it through neighbouring open spaces.”

Cllr Gunawardena raised concerns that the council was not providing enough open space per head at Meridian Water, which would go against the aims of the strategy.

Further activities contained in the update on the strategy include providing twelve new wetland sites, introducing community gardens in urban areas, and reintroducing beavers to the borough in March this year.