Keep Wales Tidy – the taxpayer-financed pseudo-charity which runs the Blue Flag Beach awards and the Green Flag scheme for public parks and open spaces – has announced that The Kymin in Penarth is to be presented with a Green Flag .
The Kymin now joins 3 other Penarth parks – Alexandra Park, Windsor Gardens and Belle Vue – which already hold Green Flags and are entitled to fly the emblem on flagpoles to denote their distinction.
The awards are judged by “green space experts” , who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.
However – for all the Keep Wales Tidy hype – the judges have sadly overlooked Penarth’s Dingle Park – which, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers – is surely the most improved public space anywhere in Penarth.
No explanation has been given as to why this very pleasant little park has been left out of the reckoning, particularly given the degree of community involvement in its renovation.
Another Penarth Park not awarded a Green Flag – perhaps unsurprisingly – is the Penarth Head Park, home of the notorious Penarth Head viewing platform. The park is partially fenced off for public safety.
Lesley Griffiths AM, the Welsh Government’s cabinet secretary for the environment and rural affairs says she is “delighted to see so many green spaces achieving the standards of the Green Flag Award. The award helps to ensure that communities have top quality green space to enjoy and experience the outdoors, which are fundamental to the wellbeing and quality of life of our communities in Wales.”
Lucy Prisk, the Green Flag coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: “The Green Flag Award is all about connecting people with the very best parks and green spaces. Keep Wales Tidy is proud to run the scheme in Wales because we know having a good quality environment can have a big impact on our communities, health and well-being, and economy. I’d like to congratulate our winners and thank everyone who works tirelessly to maintain the standards demanded by the Green Flag Award”.
Last year Keep Wales Tidy’s 4 employees received between them total renumeration of £245,682 – including pensions, national insurance and redundancy – almost all of which was funded by taxpayers .
The highest-paid member of Keep Wales Tidy’s staff has a salary of between £60,000 and £70,000 a year.