77 Scottish parks have been presented with a Green Flag Award in 2021 and for the first time this includes a hospital.

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital is the first Scottish NHS site to receive a Green Flag Award.

Tracey McKagen, Services Director for the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Associated Services in NHS Lothian, said:

“I’m really delighted that our hospital has received this award as it shows how much work goes into looking after our beautiful greenspaces.

“These areas are very important to us in NHS Lothian as they enable both our staff and patients to connect with nature, which helps with mental and general wellbeing.

“This award was only possible with the support and contributions from the whole hospital community, so I would like to thank everyone involved for their ongoing hard work to support our natural areas. As the site evolves to meet future healthcare needs our greenspace management plan will ensue nature continues to be at the heart of the site.”

Achieving Green Flag Award status for NHS sites was one of the targets set out in the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace and Health Strategic Framework that greenspace scotland developed with the Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation and NHS Lothian. The Greenspace Management Plan for the site was created in partnership with the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust and is the first to be developed for an NHS Scotland site. It is hoped this project will pave the way for other NHS sites to follow suit. Read more about Royal Edinburgh Hospital

The international Green Flag Award acts as a benchmark for recreational outdoor space. The award celebrates well maintained parks and greenspaces and supports the opportunities that they provide to enable exercise, improve mental wellbeing and provide safe areas for play – something that has been particularly important to everyone over the last 18 months. A total of 2,127 parks across the UK have achieved the award this year.

A full list of Scotland’s 2021 award winners can be found here

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented:

“I would like to congratulate all of Scotland’s award-winning parks. Receiving this prestigious international benchmark recognises all the hard work that has gone into maintaining and managing these precious green open spaces.

“Every single one of these parks provides an invaluable service to the local communities that it serves - from creating a safe space to play, to think, to work out – and they helped to address many of the health and wellbeing challenges we faced as a country during lockdown.”

“Spending time in nature can be good for people’s health and wellbeing, and merely living in a greener neighbourhood can be good for health. The Green Flag Award recognises the valuable, and tangible contribution that these parks make towards the nation’s well-being.” 

greenspace scotland worked with the Civic Trust in 2007 to pilot the Green Flag Award in Scotland. Since then the scheme has gone from strength to strength, embracing a wider variety of parks and greenspaces, and with Green Flag Awards in 17 local authority areas.

The Green Flag Award in Scotland is managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful and supported by a team of volunteer judges, including greenspace scotland colleagues.

greenspace scotland is working with NHS Lothian, Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation and a wide range of partners and stakeholders on the delivery of the Greenspace and Health Strategic Framework for Edinburgh & Lothians.

Greenspace and health