UK authorities have awarded a world-class state park to the city of Norfolk for its environmental achievements in 2017.
The city was recognised with the 2017 UK Garden State Park (GWPS) Award for the best garden state park in the UK, a position it held for nine years.
The award comes after the city set a new record for the number of species of plants and flowers it has collected in 2017, an average of over 500 a day.
This was a record for a UK state park.
The first UK state parks to be awarded the GWPS Award were in England in 2000 and in Scotland in 2001.
In 2017, the city also set a record of a total of 7,828 species of plant and flower, of which around 1,300 are endemic to the UK.
The GWPS was established by the UK Government in 1992.
In 2018, the British Gardeners’ Association (GBGA) awarded the award to Norfolk after it was recognised as the UK’s best garden city in 2018.
It is the first time the GWP Award has been awarded to a city in England.
The new award, which was presented on Monday at the Garden State Exhibition in Norwich, will go to Norfolk for the fifth consecutive year.
It was jointly presented by Norfolk and the UK National Trust and was first announced by the mayor of Norfolk, Robert Holmes, at a ceremony in Norwich City Hall.
“The UK’s garden state parks have been under pressure to meet the challenge of maintaining our natural and cultural heritage and creating a more sustainable city, but the success of our state parks and the City of Norfolk are down to the hard work of the thousands of volunteers who visit them every day,” Mayor Robert Holmes said in a statement.
“This is a proud day for Norfolk, as we celebrate the work that our residents have done to improve our garden state, which is an important component of our city’s long-term vision to become the world’s most green city by 2050.”
The GWP Awards are a joint initiative between the UK government and the city, which will present the award at a public ceremony on Wednesday.
The prize will be presented to the best and brightest of the city’s residents.
Norfolk was recognised for its dedication to the environment in 2017 with the state park’s highest honour being the GWPGE National Award, which includes the highest award given for the city by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The GWPG is a key part of Norfolk’s strategy to boost the city into the green future.
The annual award ceremony is also attended by city council leader, Sir Christopher Monckton, who said it was a “truly remarkable day” for Norfolk.
The state park was founded in 1693 as the city and the Norfolk Town and Country Council (CNCC) were founded.
The town was established in 1751 as a trading post and later became the centre of commerce in the county.
It now has more than 30 parks and gardens.
“Our city’s state parks are a testament to the great work that Norfolk residents and their local community have done over the past 50 years to create a better Norfolk,” Sir Christopher said.
“It is a tribute to the generosity and dedication of the people of Norfolk who have supported us over the years, and we will continue to support them with this year’s award.”
The city has over 3,500 residents, who are responsible for running almost 30% of the UK economy.
“We’re delighted to have been awarded the 2017 GWPS award, but it is something of a dream come true for us,” Norfolk mayor Robert Holmes added.
“I’ve been mayor of this beautiful city for 13 years and the GWPL is something that I have dreamed about for a long time.
It means I have a long way to go but we’ve made significant progress and we are in the very early stages of planning for the next two years.”
Norfolk is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The UK Government announced last month that the UK would be joining a host of countries including Norway and Switzerland in establishing a single GWPS.
Norfolk, which has over 500 miles of coastline, has also won the UK and International Urban Watercolours (IWWC) awards for the year 2017.
Norfolk is currently working on a £20m upgrade to the existing City Hall Garden City and the state parks in the city.