The economic pressures facing authorities and other organisations may be resulting in rewriting of tenders increasing the emphasis on cost and consequently reducing the attention on standards and potentially health and safety. Indeed the Forum has seen some evidence of this.
Whilst recognising the need to undertake amenity work efficiently and economically, it is important that those responsible for awarding contracts maintain current standards in terms of effectiveness of the operations and ensuring fully trained and qualified staff are used to undertake the tasks.
Professor John Moverley OBE, Chairman of the Forum, said, ''The amenity sector is a very important one and covers a wide area including maintenance of our parks and pavements, our sports areas, our transport networks and much more. Members of the Forum have worked hard to drive up standards and through its good practice guides, sought to ensure essential operations required are undertaken both safely and effectively. We recognise that we need to continue this and reach an even wider audience of users. It is in this context that we express concern, having been made aware of some recent tenders which may be working against this aim''
Earlier in the year, the Forum wrote to the Secretary of State at DEFRA expressing concern about the implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive urging that it did not diminish standards and the level of training requirements in the amenity sector. The Forum has been advocates for improving access and availability of training.
Professor Moverley said''The maintenance of our amenity areas to required standards involves a skilled approach making proper use of essential pesticides and other controls. We urge all those involved in this, and especially those issuing tenders, to seek out properly skilled and trained
The consultation amongst its membership is ongoing and the Forum will report on this in due course.
The Amenity Forum is an independent body to bring together professional organisations with an involvement in the amenity horticulture sector. This is a very diverse industry responsible for the landscape management of urban areas, highways and rail network, sports grounds, parks, industrial and utility sites. To establish and maintain these areas to a high standard, the sector requires access to pesticides, efficient equipment and trained and qualified staff. The organisation was formed in October 2003 as a key action to support the Voluntary Initiative, an industry led project agreed with Government to reduce the environmental impact of pesticides.
For further information on this press release or the work of the Forum, please contact the Secretary, Alan Spedding, or the Chairman, Professor John Moverley OBE. Similarly if you wish to register for future press releases, please let us know.