John Moverley, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, announced a number of new initiatives in his address to the conference held at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on Thursday, October 16th. These included the launch of a new look Forum website, incorporating easier access to guidance material, a new campaign promoting continuing professional development and two new leaflets on the key points for education and training and illegal pesticides.
John also announced plans for improved guidance material relating to water protection, a new research initiative linked to integrated control and he launched an expanded 2015 programme for Updating Events to be held throughout England as well as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from January to early April.
John said 'These are challenging times for our sector but we are delighted with the commitment being shown to best practice in weed, pest and disease control. More and more are committed to operating at Amenity Assured standards and the Forum has a growing membership. However we cannot be complacent. It is important that we engage everyone in our sector with an interest in this area whether as operators, specifiers, advisers or in any other capacity. It is very important that they support the Amenity Forum and that the industry stays in control rather than having change imposed'
He continued by saying 'The Forum will continue with its wide range of activities to further engage with all involved. We are the voluntary initiative for our sector and it is important that we all work together to maintain high standards. We can be proud of our progress in delivering to the National Action Plan, emerging from adoption of recent Directives, but there are areas we still need to improve and must do so'.
The new Forum website can be accessed at the existing address of www.amenityforum.co.uk. The leaflet on key points for education and training was distributed at the conference and can be accessed via the website. The Watch Out leaflet has been produced on behalf of the Forum by member organisation, the CPA. It was also distributed at the conference. It stresses the real dangers involved in illegal pesticide use - certainly not worth the risk in any way.
The Forum has been campaigning for better engagement by the sector in continuing professional development. Discussions are ongoing with the various bodies involved to improve the systems involved and the Forum will be campaigning hard in the coming months to take out the message to all involved.