17th July 2017- BBC News
A record 73 parks in Scotland have been given a prestigious Green Flag Award in recognition of their high standards and quality.
Three more parks than last year received the award from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Edinburgh has the highest number of green flags, with 30 parks achieving the honour.
They include Princes Street Gardens, Corstorphine Hill and Portobello Community Garden.
The award recognises “that well maintained parks build healthy and stable communities and bring health benefits such as encouraging exercise, improving mental wellbeing and inspiring children to play”.
First-time awards went to Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen, Silver Sands and Hawkcraig Point in Fife, Haugh Park in Fife and Dundee Law in Dundee.
Seven parks in Glasgow received the award, including Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Botanic Gardens and Pollok Country Park.
Dock Park in Dumfries and Galloway also received a green flag.
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:
“I would like to congratulate all 73 parks from across Scotland for achieving this prestigious benchmark. It is pleasing to see the number of Green Flag Awards in Scotland increasing year on year.”
“Good quality green open spaces are vital to the health and wellbeing of local communities, families and individuals. Parks and open spaces are a fantastic asset – they are free to use and provide opportunities to exercise and socialise.”
“With more Scottish parks flying the Green Flag Award than ever before, this record-breaking number is a testament to the determination of park managers, local authorities and volunteers – whose hard work in turn brings about a raft of wider impacts on the community as a whole.”
The winning parks are run by local authorities, universities and community groups.
Matt Lowther, head of place and equity at NHS Health Scotland, said:
“It is important that the places and spaces in which we live, work and play are designed to promote good health and reduce health inequalities. Having access to good-quality green space is an essential part of this.”
“It means people are more likely to be physically active and socially connected. In many cases, the health-promoting effect is even greater for those on lower incomes.”
“Good quality parks can help to reduce health inequalities and so if we want a fairer, healthier Scotland, we need good-quality parks.”
“Evidence shows that if people think a park is well maintained and easy to reach, they will use it.”