0 Critical time for those involved in amenity management

For everyone engaged in amenity management, these are really important times. The pandemic and all its consequences are having, and will have, a long lasting impact on everyone, and those engaged in managing amenity spaces are certainly not exempt from this. What has been demonstrated is the essential nature of much of the work, especially in seeking to keep parks, transports networks, sports surfaces etc. safe and healthy and fit for purpose. However, nobody can predict with certainty the future. With an economy under real stress and unemployment up, there will be less resource available and certainly changes in pattern of use of amenity spaces.

Also, to be factored into the mix is the government review of the UK National Action Plan which focusses on all aspects of weed, pest and disease management. The draft plan is now out for consultation and the Amenity Forum will be responding fully. The Forum is also urging other organisations to make response. It is vital that we stress the importance of what is done and why weed, pest and disease management is essential. We cannot take this for granted; we need to make our politicians fully aware of what we do, and the professional standards employed. In that latter context, the sector must embrace the Amenity Standard. It is a totally recognisable way to demonstrate professional standards by showing organisations involved are members of an approved assurance scheme. There is much support from policy makers for the Standard and getting engaged shows commitment by the sector and will very much assist in gaining the right outcomes for the sector. For further information contact admin@amenityforum.net or visit the website www.theamenitystandard.co.uk

The National Action Plan will be the key focus at a series of free Updating Events being held by the Amenity Forum over the coming weeks. They are half day, free and open to all and being run entirely online. It is really important that those engaged in, or with an interest in, amenity management are fully aware of the potential changes and express their views. These free events will provide this. For details of registration, please contact Kate at Admin@amenityforum.net. The dates are February 9th, 11th, 23rd, 25th and March 4th.

Also recently launched at this important time is a government supported survey seeking to ascertain usage of plant protection products in amenity and related information. If you receive a request to provide this data, please do so. It will provide clear evidence not only of what we do but its importance.

Professor John Moverley, independent chairman of the Amenity Forum, says ''The important and essential nature of amenity management may be something those engaged in it understand but we must ensure that message is articulated clearly and strongly to all especially the public and policy makers. Everyone involved should be immensely proud of what they do but now is the time to say it loud. Critical times ahead maybe but working together the sector can face such times and be successful, of that I have no doubt''.

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