New guidance from the Amenity Forum will help those responsible for specifying weed control contracts achieve both best practice and best value while ensuring the public, the environment and surrounding water are protected.
The first of the Forum's 'Best Practice Guidance Notes' spells out best practice in specification of weed control contracts.
"A weed control specification for contracted works is a crucial document prepared by the client," explains Jon Allbutt, Chairman of the Amenity Forum. "It should clearly define the job and set out the standards required to fulfil the contract. Throughout the process it should set a standard by which the work itself can be assessed. Client managers will not only ensure the work achieves effective weed control, but also that it complies with the levels of stewardship that are now demanded whenever pesticides are applied.
"Furthermore, following this Best Practice Guidance will help the whole industry raise its standards. This must be achieved to maintain reputation and avoid prosecutions."
Adequate training and qualifications are an essential part of the Amenity Forum's new guidance which points out that contractors should belong to professional bodies, eg National Association of Agricultural Contractors or an assurance scheme, eg BASIS Advanced Certification Scheme. In addition, key staff, from manager to operatives should have the recognised BASIS or NPTC qualifications.
"It is no longer adequate to choose the cheapest contractor for a job," says Mr Allbutt. "Authorities must award contracts on the basis that materials will be applied by suitably qualified personnel from firms with procedures in place to address issues such as disposal of unused material, handling emergencies, and safe transport and storage."
Full details of the new Guidance Note can be obtained from the web site www.amenity.org.uk
in the Amenity Forum information section