0 Best practice for a better Environment: VI message

Best practice for a better Environment: VI message

By Robert Joice

Many or some of us in the amenity industry have at least heard of the Voluntary Initiative (VI) but what precisely is it about? Why has it been set up? What does it mean to individuals and organisations?

To provide the answers and guidance for our readers we plan with the help of the Crop Protection Association (CPA) Amenity Companies to bring you up to date information on VI.

To start it is worth reminding ourselves that the VI is a programme of measures agreed with Government to minimise the environmental impact of pesticides. At the outset the amenity sector decided that the best way to achieve a better environment was to concentrate on the standards of both advice and application.

A workshop of stakeholders agreed that the use of pesticides on hard surfaces for example pavements, railways and industrial sites to be at the top of the list as the most likely sources of water contamination. The use of pesticides in vegetation management could also result in water contamination and furthermore impact on biodiversity. 'Best Practice' by all users was clearly the order of the day and it was agreed that for success it was essential to have close co-operation and effective communication to reach across this diverse sector.

Progress has been made on several fronts and there are three that are of particular importance at this time.

Starting with the establishment of the Amenity Forum. The Forum has representatives from over twenty-five member organisations with an interest in the care and maintenance of the amenity, sports and industrial areas. The Forum plans to establish and co-ordinate activities that affect the sector with a strong focus on promoting best practice. Full information and members can be found on www.amenity.org.uk/content/Default.asp

This new website is the second recent development. It is a dedicated web site for all pesticide aspects of the amenity sector. The site has a news section, a library and a Product Directory. In addition there will be information on water protection and Integrated Amenity Management to assist advisors, contractors and customers and links to other key sites. The web site will be the cornerstone for the supporting technical information on amenity weed, pest and disease control.

Contractors have an important role in the amenity area providing in some cases both advice and an application service. The NAAC with the CPA are working closely to set up an e-mail information service on pesticides specifically for amenity contractors. If you are operating in this area and not already on the list but wish to be up to date contact the NAAC at jill.hewitt@naac.co.uk or the CPA at shelley.w@cropprotection.org.uk

Future articles will provide more details of the activities and details to help everyone play an active role in this initiative.

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