At this year's Saltex event, the Amenity Forum held a very popular Question Time session based upon the format established both on television and radio.
In the absence of the Dimbleby brothers, John Moverley took the chair and an invited panel of experts responded to questions and there was also be an opportunity for all to join in the discussion.
The hour long event proved a great success attracting a large audience.
These are times of great change in terms of weed and disease control in the sector.
The enactment of UK legislation to implement the Sustainable Use Directive, and the publication of the National Action Plan, strengthening and clarifying regulations and actions are key drivers.
Also there is much to be done if the UK is to comply with the Water Framework Directive and, on top of that, we have real technical challenges with the emergence of new diseases and more.
As a consequence, there was much for the Question Time panel to get to grips with.
A particular focus of the session was on integrated control methods.
Current guidance emphasises the need to fully consider integrated solutions in all cases involving non pesticide solutions to supplement more traditional methods. However we have still much to learn in this area.
What does integrated control really mean? Can it be as effective? Is it really less damaging to the environment and what are the economics?
Again these were important questions tackled by the panel.
At the end of the session, John Moverley, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, thanked everyone for attending and made special mention of the forthcoming important national conference. It is to take place on October 17th at Leicester City Football Ground. The programme will address the practical implications of recent policy change and technical challenges.
John stated that ''I would like to see as many as possible attend this important event. We have an excellent programme and a large number of exhibitors which make it valuable in itself but I also wish to see as many as possible there to demonstrate the importance of our sector and our commitment to best practice, further strengthening our voice nationally. The best way to driving up standards is by voluntary action by the sector itself''