Union Flag: new official guidance

Following the publication of new official guidance, the Union flag is set to fly year round on UK Government buildings in England, Scotland and Wales.

The current guidance requires only that UK Government buildings in these three countries fly the Union flag on designated days.

From summer 2021, however, the Union flag will fly daily unless a flag highlighting local or national identity is flying instead.

Such flags might include the Scottish Saltire, the Welsh Red Dragon, a county flag, or other flag marking civic pride.

The annual DCMS* review of flag-flying guidance makes further changes:

  • removing the planning regulation which since 2007 has allowed public buildings in England to fly the EU flag without planning permission
  • granting new ‘deemed consent’ to NHS flags, allowing them to fly without planning permission alongside the Union flag
  • permitting dual flagging – whereby two flags fly on one pole

A copy of the new DCMS guidance has also gone to all English local councils, alongside a recommendation that they should fly the Union flag on their buildings.

Other authorities, institutions and individuals may fly any flag at any time provided it complies with planning requirements.

Different regulations apply to the flying of national flags, including the Union flag, in Wales and Scotland.

Separate legislation applies to the flying of the Union flag on UK Government buildings in Northern Ireland.

Read more from the Flag Institute on UK flags.

Read the full DCMS press release.

*DCMS: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport