FIVE city parks are receiving prestigious Green Flags for 2020.

Sunderland City Council parks and gardens have once again been recognised with Green Flag status and this year the awards have gone to Barnes Park, Hetton Lyons Country Park, Roker Park, Mowbray Park and Herrington Country Park.

They are among more than 2,000 sites across the country to collect the Green Flag Award, in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "It is a mark of how much love and care there is for parks and green spaces in our city that our parks have once again won this prestigious award.

"We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors. These awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining our parks to such a high standard and it is something everyone in the city can feel proud of."

Sunderland's parks have been awarded Green Flag awards for many years. In 2005, the former colliery spoil heap that was transformed into Herrington Country Park won its first award and has been claiming awards ever since.

The awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their award status. Any green space that is freely accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award.

Tonight the Northern Spire Bridge, Wearmouth Bridge and Penshaw Monument will be joining buildings and landmarks across the country, including the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire Hoe, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford's Media City, going green for parks to celebrate Green Flag Award success and to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Award Judges for all their work this year.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said: "This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

"It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Sunderland City Council has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."