'Making a difference for everyone' was the core message running through many of the presentations at a very well attended Amenity Forum conference held at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton on Trent on Thursday 12th October 2017.
The flagship annual conference foe Amenity Forum reminded delegates that without professional maintenance of amenity areas, every UK citizen would be affected. Those involved in Amenity keep the roads and trains running, the streets and pavements clean, our sports surfaces in top condition and our parks fun and enjoyable places. Weed, pest and disease control is not a nice to have but essential and important. In his address, John Moverley OBE, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum, urged everyone involved to have real pride in what they do and to help communicate to the wider public the important work undertaken - vital for health, safety, our environment and ensuring green spaces are fit for purpose.
The first session of the conference focussed upon policy and innovation. Grant Stark from the Chemicals Regulation Directorate emphasised the change ahead and the need for the sector to stand together. He urged delegates to support the Amenity Forum; demonstrating their commitment to best practice. John Parker from Transport for London focussed upon how amenity maintenance keeps cities running and the scale of the task.
The second session involving five leading experts; turning the focus towards the need to adopt a holistic or integrated approach to amenity management. Andrew Kerr from Surbiton Golf Club was passionate about the need to maintain golf courses at both a high standard for playing and also to maximise environmental benefits. He emphasised the high level of professionalism needed with highly trained staff. David Carey from the Bio Control Trade Association looked at new innovations in such an approach and emphasised the role that bio control can take in a holistic approach to amenity management. Colin Mumford from Bayer sought a preventative approach to weed, pest and disease problems and Professor Alan Gange from the University of London described current research into biological control of the invasive, Himalayan Balsam.
In the afternoon, attention focussed on having pride in what the amenity sector delivers for public benefit. John Ledwidge is a highly regarded Head Groundsman responsible for maintenance and improvement of pitches used by Leicester City FC. Maintaining top quality pitches is a high pressure job and demands a very high degree of professionalism and dedication. He was followed by a thought provoking presentations from Mark De Ath (Headland Amenity) and Peter Corbett (Rigby Taylor) who looked to the future and what weed, pest and disease management might look like.
The conference was rounded up by a presentation from Barrie Hunt (Monsanto) who updated everyone on the current re-approval process for glyphosate, an essential component of almost all amenity management programmes. John Moverley then concluded urging everyone to get behind the current communication campaign seeking to increase everyone's understanding of the importance of amenity management. It really does keep Britain moving.