These are challenging times for all involved with weed and pest control in amenity areas. Following the government enacting legislation to implement the Sustainable Use Directive, a draft national action plan has now been constructed setting out the key measures and actions.
The draft has been released for widespread consultation with planned implementation at the end of the year. The importance of demonstrating good practice and using trained and qualified staff has never been greater albeit this is in the context of ever increasing financial pressures. Whatever area of amenity, there are challenges to face and issues to be addressed.
The Amenity Forum is the collective body representing the sector in relation to pesticide use. In that context over the coming months, the Forum is running a special campaign to engage all elements of the sector and gain their commitment to driving up standards. Professor John Moverley, independent chairman of the Forum, said ''We have made considerable progress in a voluntary approach to promoting best practice and, those in our industry currently following very best practice, using trained and knowledgeable staff and engaged in proper thorough risk assessment, are excellent ambassadors.
However the sector is a complex and diverse one. Sadly, there are those who need to up their game so that all of us can continue to operate with all the current tools available and meet new challenges such as for example those arising from new water regulations. There is still need to improve understanding amongst all involved, those who commission work, those who do it and those who benefit from it ''
John will launch the campaign at a seminar at SALTEX on Tuesday September 4th when his title will be ''Promoting Best Practice & Standards in the Amenity Sector - critical issues and challenges facing the sector''. On October 9th, the Amenity Forum will be holding its annual conference at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.A list of keynote speakers will provide an informed view both of the current position and the future covering all aspects of amenity.
On November 22nd at Pride Park, Derby, an event is being organised by BASIS supported by the Forum focussing on the Amenity Assured standard, key to all involved. Over the winter months, a series of regional events are planned with the support of the Chemicals Regulations Directorate and others. These will seek to be of specific interest to local authorities and those who work for them, updating on the current position and challenges and seeking to help them in driving up standards. The Forum is keen to hear from authorities who might host such events to ensure maximum attendance and reach.
John Moverley concludes by saying ''The amenity sector is vitally important and the public and others involved seek that amenity areas are maintained to the highest standards. We need to ensure that all become engaged. We see this as a priority. The sector must demonstrate that it can, through collective effort, continue to drive up standards - we must be proactive not reactive. The members of the Forum are leading the way and we continue to gain more but there remains much to be done''
For further information any of the events, please contact the Secretary whose email is Alan.firstname.lastname@example.org