The University of Nottingham has celebrated a record eighth Green Flag Award – the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales – with a garden party for grounds staff and community supporters.
The first University to win a Green Flag for its parks and gardens, even eight years later Nottingham remains the only one to achieve this. Nottingham’s beautiful main campus once again impressed judges from the Green Flag Plus Partnership, which includes Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV, and GreenSpace.
It was judged to be welcoming, healthy, safe and secure, clean and well maintained, sustainably managed, demonstrating conservation and heritage, engaging with the community, and having good management and marketing strategies.
The University’s Grounds Manager, Desmond O’Grady, said: “A combination of community initiatives, an excellent grounds team, an enthusiastic Friends Group and continued support from the University has made this year’s Green Flag Award possible. The Grounds and Gardens Team are delighted to have reached a standard seldom achieved in the education sector.
“Our community initiatives during the year have included a Picnic in the Park, the Community Open Day and organised gardens and wildlife tours for local people. All these have contributed to the University’s continued success in this important national award. We’re grateful to everyone who contributed to achieving this continued national recognition.”
The Green Flag comes weeks after the Estates Office Environment Team won their first Green Gown Awards commendation – a major sustainability award in higher education – for creating natural meadows, diverse wildlife, secret gardens, and a transformed industrial site at Jubilee Campus, with lakes, reed beds and timber-clad buildings topped with living roofs.
The Green Gown commendation recognised how since the late 1990s the University’s grounds maintenance practices have been developed to integrate sustainability into formal and natural landscapes across all its campuses.
Native plantings now form part of new building designs; previously close-mown green spaces have been turned into meadow areas, with subsequent increases in biodiversity; and green waste, once burned, is now recycled to provide mulch that improves soil, and reduces peat and pesticide use.
The University of Nottingham’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Infrastructure and the Environment Professor Alan Dodson said: “I’m very pleased that both these awards recognise the excellence achieved by our Estates and Grounds Staff over many years. The Green Flag in particular requires continuous improvement to be evidenced, and to win it for eight years in a row is an outstanding achievement.”
Over the past few years the University has won several other awards for its landscaping, including a British Association of Landscape Industries Award, a Civic Trust Award, Britain in Bloom Public Park Award and several awards from the Nottingham in Bloom Competition, including a Gold Award for the North Entrance summer bedding scheme in 2009. University Park also won an East Midlands In Bloom ‘Special Award’ For Horticultural Excellence in 2008.
Among those celebrating this latest Green Flag win are the Friends of University Park, a community group which supports the sustainable groundkeeping work of the University’s Estates Office Environment Team. Among the eight criteria the judges assessed was the extent to which the campus is ‘A welcoming place’. The University of Nottingham’s grounds are open to the community to enjoy as well as students and staff.
At a special event, from noon until 5pm on Sunday 8th August, visitors will be able to enjoy the Millennium Garden, Highfields Walled Garden, the restored Jekyll Garden and massive Victorian Rock Garden at Lenton Firs, and 330 acres of parkland.
Visitors will be able to see for themselves the work that goes into designing and maintaining this award-winning park. The afternoon will feature short garden tours and a Friends of University Park Information point. For more information, go to: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/estate/friends.htm
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.