This year is an important one, not only for LUC celebrating its 50th year, but for the Green Flag Award scheme celebrating its 20th.

The Green Flag Award scheme recognises and rewards the very best green spaces. The principles on which they judge entrants for the award can be used as a benchmark national standard for the management of parks and green spaces in the UK.

Our Landscape Managers include qualified Green Flag Award judges and have used this expertise to support local authorities and other land owners with the preparation of Open Space Audits and Strategies, Conservation Management Plans, Management and Maintenance Plans for landscape ranging from the newly built to Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The team has also worked with clients to successfully secure funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People and Heritage Grant programmes which aim to restore, manage and promote the UK’s public parks and both of which stipulate entry into the Green Flag Scheme.

There are also other initiatives and schemes which have a strong impact on the management of parks, including the HLF’s report on the State of the UK Public Parks 2016 and the NESTA funded ‘Rethinking Parks’ initiative.

We worked with the HLF on the initial scoping of their recent report on the State of the UK’s Parks which highlights the importance of identifying new ways of funding and managing open spaces and welcome the publication of the final report.

Our work with the Rethinking Parks project included the Bristol Parkwork project, a scheme that helps people to gain horticultural skills and work experience whilst maintaining public parks at a reduced cost. We are delighted to have had this project extended by Bristol Council.

We therefore understand the importance of the news that the Communities and Local Government Select Committee has launched an inquiry into public parks. In addition to inviting formal submissions of evidence, the committee has set up an online questionnaire for members of the public to complete.

We know how important our parks and green space are to us and our local communities, that’s why LUC encourages everyone to have their say about the future of UK parks. You can submit your thoughts, opinions and provide evidence as to why our parks are important by 30 September 2016.

Further information on the inquiry can be found here. Use #myparkmatters on Twitter to express your views.