News: alternatives to the current United Kingdom flag presented by a national flag charity have provoked a debate about whether a new design should be commissioned if Scotland chooses independence in its upcoming referendum.
The Flag Institute, an independent charity dedicated to the study and documentation of flags, asked experts and members of the public to design new versions of the union jack that would reflect Scotland's independence.
The designs were proposed by people responding to a survey conducted by the Flag Institute, in which 65 percent of respondents claimed the Union Flag should change if Scotland becomes independent.
The United Kingdom's current flag features the saltire of St Andrew representing Scotland, the English cross of St George and the red saltire of St Patrick for Ireland.
Suggestion for a possible new flag included replacing the saltire with colours or shapes representing Wales, which was part of the English kingdom when the flag was originally designed.
One proposal showed the blue saltire of St Andrew replaced with the black ground and yellow cross of the patron saint of Wales, St David.
Other designs employed the red, white and green colours of the Welsh Dragon flag, or featured the dragon itself. A design by John Yates fragmented the colours and crosses of each nation into a pattern of overlapping shapes, while others integrated royal iconography.
The Flag Institute's chief executive Charles Ashburner pointed out that the organisation is neither encouraging nor discouraging a change to the flag, but is "simply here to facilitate and inform the debate if there is an appetite for such a thing."
"As this subject has generated the largest post bag of any single subject in our history ever, there clearly is such an appetite," Ashburner added.
When the alternative flags were posted on the BBC's online magazine they prompted further suggestions from the public, including many "which kept the shapes in the current union jack but changed the colours."
The Scottish public will vote on the issue of independence on 18 September 2014, however the College of Arms, which oversees matters relating to flags and heraldry and acts under Crown Authority, told British broadcaster ITV that there are no plans to change the Union Flag if Scotland becomes an independent state.