The University of Nottingham has been awarded a record-breaking 10th consecutive Green Flag Award.
The 330 acre University Park Campus ensured that Nottingham was the first university to bag a Green Flag back in 2003 — and the University has been racking them up ever since. The national award scheme recognises and rewards the best public and community parks and green spaces in the country.
Over 800 volunteers were involved in assessing the nominated green spaces against a stringent set of criteria. This includes how welcoming the space is, the way it is marketed, community involvement, maintenance, safety and security, conservation and heritage, and sustainability.
More than 1,400 Green Flag Awards were handed out this year to green spaces of all different shapes and sizes. These sites — including the University — will be hoisting a green flag in recognition of their achievement.
A perfect ten
Professor Karen Cox, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Environment and Infrastructure at the University, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win another Green Flag Award for University Park Campus. And it’s even more special for it to take us to our tenth in a row — something no other university has achieved.
“It is important to keep our grounds in superb condition so that they can be enjoyed by students, staff and the community, as well as promoting and protecting the grounds for future generations. This award shows that our estates and grounds staff are more than achieving these aims.”
A team effort
Desmond O’Grady, Grounds Manager at The University of Nottingham, said: “The maintenance and improvement of the University grounds is a huge team effort between the Estates Office, Friends of University Park and grounds staff. A lot of help also comes from student volunteers.
“This ensures that our grounds are welcoming, and we’ve worked hard to build strong community partnerships with organisations like Nottingham City Council and East Midlands in Bloom.”
The University also utilises the University Park site for community events, including May Fest — a free annual open day to showcase the University’s broad expertise in a fun and child-friendly way.
A world-class campus
University Park is renowned for its large leafy campus and is one of the big draws for prospective students. Highlights include Highfields Lake, large areas of long-established woodland, Lenton Firs rock garden and the tranquil Millennium Garden.
Mr O’Grady said: “I have spoken to students and a lot of them mention that the grounds are a major attraction. That’s why the effort we put into maintaining the site is so important — as well as for East Midlands Conference Centre and the hotel that’s being built.”
And the University isn’t resting on its laurels. That’s why further improvements are in the pipeline in order to ensure an 11th Green Flag Award.
Mr O’Grady added: “There’s a programme of constant improvement and within the next 12 months there will be lots of refurbishment, like habitat creation with student volunteer groups, and work to further improve the area around the north shore of Highfields Lake.”
Last year, University Park was named the most environmentally friendly campus on the planet in the University of Indonesia’s ‘Greenmetric of World Universities 2011’.