PARKS and green spaces across a county have been handed Green Flag Awards after being kept in good shape during the past year.

The awards highlight good practice managing and developing open spaces, ranging from parks to cemeteries, countryside sites and crematoria, as well as recognising the input of local communities.

Twelve sites maintained by Durham County Council have merited the prestigious green flag status.

The Durham ‘dozen’ are: Blackhill and Consett Park, plus Moorside and Castleside cemeteries, all in the Consett area, Durham Crematorium and Cemetery, and Wharton Park, both Durham, Hardwick Park, Sedgefield, Annfield Plain Park and Mountsett Crematorium, near Stanley, Riverside Park and Ropery Lane Cemetery, both Chester-le-Street, Sacriston Cemetery, Bishop Auckland’s Town Recreation Ground.

The first awards were given in 1997 and the scheme continues to provide the benchmark against which parks and green spaces are measured.

Judging criteria includes maintenance, conservation and community involvement as well as open spaces being welcoming, healthy, safe and secure.

The award scheme has been run by Keep Britain Tidy since 1996.

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