The origin of the phrase 'we live in interesting times' is often traced back to a Chinese curse but these days its use is varied. It can even be used to express opportunity. Whatever your interpretation, it certainly is true to say that times are interesting for all involved in weed, pest and disease control issues.
Policy change continues to impact. Those involved directly and indirectly need to adapt, be flexible and still deliver appropriate standards of control.
The Amenity Forum provides a voice for the amenity sector and a vehicle for all to demonstrate their commitment to best practice and the highest standards. There is no doubt that recent years have seen the sector getting fully behind these objectives and there is much success to report. However there is still more to do and just some of the key points are:
The need to ensure that we engage everyone in their commitment. If as a sector, we are to stay in control and maintain our position, it is vital that everyone plays their part:
- Everyone needs to be fully clear and understanding of what is required of them under new policy directives and guidelines. These include both full engagement in training and continuous professional development and ensuring sprayer equipment is tested and records kept.
- The Amenity Assured Standard must become just that - widely recognised and a sign of quality - an assurance to every one of the highest standards
- Everyone needs to understand what is meant by integrated control and ensure, when planning control procedures, they fully plan with this in mind so the correct approach is made to individual situations.
- Information on pesticide use needs to be based on fact. We operate approval and monitoring procedures for pesticides of the highest standards. That message needs to be communicated strongly and fully explained so all understand the commitment to all aspects of health and safety.
A good source of information on all these matters and more is the Amenity Forum website www.amenityforum.co.uk
Whilst it may seem a little while ahead, a definite date for the diary is Thursday, October 15th, when the annual conference and exhibition organised by the Amenity Forum is to take place at the impressive facilities of Leicester City Football Club. A range of high profile contributors will address current issues in the sector and it is an opportunity to make your contribution and to view exhibition stands, highlighting up to date techniques and practices. The theme of the 2015 event is 'Better Together'. Booking is now open and you can reserve your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Delegate rates are £50 and £45 - the latter rate applies for Forum members. There is also a £5 discount if you book prior to September 1st.
The Forum Chairman, John Moverley, writes in its introduction '' There continue to be many challenges facing the amenity sector in terms of its approach to weed, pest and disease control. The impact of policy change is significant as are the cost pressures and other technical challenges. The emphasis is very firmly on adopting integrated approaches and making the most effective use of pesticides. Amenity is in the spotlight. It is important that the sector itself shows it can rise to the challenge and get fully behind best practice and driving up standards. It is important that the sector does this itself and it is not imposed by others and it is important that we stand together in our endeavours, hence our conference title of 'Better Together'. This conference will seek to address the hot issues, investigate the implications, the approaches available and hopefully find ways in which the challenge can become an opportunity''.
We may live in interesting times and, in such situations, we are very much better together.