Council branded ‘useless’ as it fails to increase Green Flag parks

Labour administration pledged to win new Green Flag every year but remains among nine London boroughs with one or fewer of the awards for its parks, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Forty Hall Estate and (inset) the Green Flag Award
Forty Hall Estate and (inset) the Green Flag Award

Forty Hall remains the only Green Flag-accredited council-run park in Enfield despite a pledge to win more of the prestigious environmental awards.

The council celebrated the Green Flag Award – presented to well-managed parks and green spaces by charity Keep Britain Tidy – by saying it was “testament to the hard work and dedication of the team that cares for the green space so that everyone can enjoy it”.

Forty Hall Estate, covering 110 hectares in the north of the borough, also won the award last year, when the Labour administration pledged to increase the number of publicly-accessible parks achieving the internationally-recognised quality mark by at least one per year. The pledge was made in the run-up to the local election.

But despite having among the largest number of green spaces in London, covering more than 900 hectares in total, Enfield is one of only six borough councils to still have just a single Green Flag Award for its parks – above only Barnet, Brent and Bromley, which all have zero. Neighbouring Haringey Council won 22 Green Flags, while top-performer Hillingdon bagged 67 in the latest round of awards.

Conservative group leader Alessandro Georgiou says Enfield’s performance is not good enough. “The irony about the situation is we have a council that claims to be one of the greenest in London, yet they are one of the most useless,” he said.

This story is published by Enfield Dispatch, Enfield's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

“They are being disingenuous with the Green Flag [at Forty Hall] – it is not new; it is a readoption.

“This is coming from the same council that wants to be ‘green’ and build all over the Green Belt. They are just rank hypocrites.”

The council proposed releasing Green Belt sites for development in its draft Local Plan, which was first published in 2021. Earlier this year, officers revealed the authority hopes to raise £800million by selling off Green Belt land.

Maria Alexandrou, the Conservative shadow cabinet member for environment, said the council was “not fully committed” to attaining more Green Flag Awards, adding that other boroughs such as Hillingdon were “more successful in managing green spaces”.

She added: “This Enfield administration needs to be ambitious with its green agenda and work more closely with volunteer groups to better manage parks so that all residents can enjoy the benefits.”

Dave Cockle, chair of the Enfield Society, said he was “very pleased for Forty Hall”. He added: “I’m saddened to hear that they have not awarded a Green Flag to other parks, but considering the intense pressure that the council is under with funding I guess it is understandable.”

The target of boosting the number of parks with Green Flag Awards was set out in an update on the borough’s ‘blue and green’ strategy, which aims to “protect, enhance and maintain” environmental assets and make Enfield the “greenest borough in London” by 2031.

A council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council is ambitious for all our parks, and maintains and invests in them to a high standard. We are grateful to all council staff, volunteers, park friends groups and visitors who help make them great places for our residents to enjoy.

“However, applying for Green Flags is a lengthy process that requires council officer time and resource, so parks are prioritised, and this year Forty Hall was focused on because of our recognition of its value to local people.”

We know times are hard

If you are struggling to make ends meet, we are keeping Enfield Dispatch free because of you. We know that many people cannot afford to pay for local news, so this website and our print paper will always be free. If you can afford to, and value what we do, a small monthly, yearly or one-off contribution can support us to keep providing quality journalism for Enfield to our community for free.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.  

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or yearly 

More Information about donations