FIVE country parks in Hampshire have been named as some of the best in the world. Lepe, River Hamble, Queen Elizabeth, Royal Victoria and Staunton parks all received a Green Flag award – which recognises green spaces that boast the highest possible standards. The authority says it comes as part of its vision to make the parks even more enjoyable with a programme of improvement work which includes providing new and improved visitor centres, restaurants, play equipment, trails and parking, as well as enhancing the unique habitats, heritage and breath-taking scenery found at the five country parks. Councillor Seán Woodward, the authority’s recreation chief said: “We’re delighted that our popular country parks have once again been recognised as world class open spaces for people to enjoy. Green Flag Awards are hard earned and are only given to the best green spaces across the globe. Our staff, volunteers and partners are rightly proud of this excellent achievement. “For over 40 years, these parks have welcomed visitors, encouraging them to explore and enjoy the natural environment. That’s why it’s important for us to continue to strive for excellence, by investing in our country parks – which will improve visitor facilities and make more of their natural and historical features.” International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, with more Green Flags awarded this year than last year. “Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to enjoy, and hope that next year, we award even more flags.”