It's been a few weeks since Brexit and things are pretty cloudy. We don't fully know what it means and how it will affect us all in a daily basis just yet. Alan Abel from Complete Weed Control discusses what this means for the amenity industry.
People sleep-walked into the vote and didn't realise the ramifications. It must have been a sign from someone that there where over a thousand lightning strikes in the south east on the eve of the vote.
The morning of the 24th June in the London area was chaotic, with multiple train stations shut, flooding incidents everywhere and that chaos lasted all day. This must have skewed the voting in that area, as there where nothing but stranded people and vehicles everywhere, leaving them probably unable to cast their important vote.
In our Amenity world, we were waiting with bated breath on the outcome. No, not the Brexit but the Glexit.
Our vote was due on the 24th as well, but in true EU style, the vote to extend the use of glyphosate for eighteen months went down to the wire on the 29th - just 24 hours before the licence expired.
A totally ridiculous situation for the world's most utilised herbicide to find itself subjected to.
Just a few mis-judged words by the WHO, led the green campaigners and the Soil Association to get on the bandwagon and lobby MeP's to outlaw glyphosate. No science was useful in this argument.
I was at the Wiltshire regional launch of glyphosate in the mid 1970's in the Bear Hotel, Devizes. The rep from Monsanto actually glugged some from a glass! That herbicide revolutionised agriculture across the globe and has had many use changes over the years preceding its inception.
In those days the cost was prohibitive. It was the container that you may have had five litres of in your store. That cost £95 and only to be used on special occasions.
Now it has become the stock in trade of the Amenity industry (£25 average price) given that we no longer have the triazines, amitroles, diurons and paraquats that were our staple products on industrial sites and street pavements up to the 1990's.
Now, the label on a glyphosate product stipulates that only spot treatment is permitted.
That's all well and good if people stuck to the rules. Sadly that's not the case and people are still 'blanket spraying' putting glyphosate and the whole of the amenity industry into jeopardy.
At this juncture, I must point out with pride, that Compete Weed Control has championed spot treatment of this product on hard surfaces since 1997 and have reduced the use of glyphosate by up to 80% in certain situations.
This has been by the use of the Weed It system of application. This machine can see chlorophyll in leaves on weeds in hard surfaces and then automatically administer the correct dose of glyphosate onto the plant.
It is the world's leading spot sprayer and is being utilised by Network Rail today. The only downside is that not all Local Authorities are taking their responsibilities seriously and decisions are being driven by Procurement Officers who are sometimes taking the cheapest option.
Contractors that are in the amenity industry should all be in the Amenity Assured Scheme and not working unregulated to low standards. There should be more policing of what is going on within our industry.
In a fine turf or pitch renovation situation, it also has its place. Many surfaces are sprayed with glyphosate before ground works commence.
We must endeavour to hold on to the pesticides we currently use by being safe and careful during all applications.