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Government issues guidance to celebrate historic counties

The flag used to represent Yorkshire, a White Rose of York on a blue background.

The government has published new guidance to help councils celebrate historic counties and boost pride in their local communities.

Placing road signs to mark historic county boundaries, flying county flags whenever possible or designing a flag if a county doesn’t have one are all measures the government has recommended to local authorities to help them promote the character of their areas.

The new guidance has been issued ahead of the annual Historic County Flags Day on July 23, which encourages the people of Great Britain to celebrate the nation’s historic counties by flying flags.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: ‘Our new guidance helps local authorities celebrate historic counties, their shared heritage, culture, history and our great nation.

‘In government, we are throwing our full weight behind historic counties through proudly flying 50 iconic county flags in the heart of Parliament Square for Historic County Flags Day on July 23.’

Several county councils have thrown their support behind the campaign, including Hampshire which recently created its own county flag.

Earlier this year Staffordshire held its own Staffordshire Day, themed ‘Made in Staffordshire’ to promote the county’s historic ceramic and brewing heritage.

The government’s new guidance contains an online map outlining historic counties, as well as guidance on how to create local and community flags.

County councils and unitary counties have been encouraged to come up with their own ideas to engage their local communities about the history and heritage of their areas.

The County Councils Network said it welcomed the government promoting the economic and social significance of counties.

Cllr Martin Hill, County Councils Network devolution spokesman, said: ‘At the same time, it is important that this guidance recognises the importance of existing county boundaries in enabling county councils to deliver efficient local services, such as transport and highways, and economic growth.

‘County councils should retain local discretion over how they use their history and identity to ensure that their 26 million residents remain clear about who is providing the services they use each day.’

Since 2012, local and county flags can be flown without planning permission, while planning rules were changed in 2014 to allow councils to put up signs marking traditional county boundaries.

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 also allows counties to mark historic county boundaries.

Photo Credit – Adam Wyles/Flickr

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