Wakefield Council has always demonstrated its emphasis on the highest standards. They have supported the work of the Amenity Forum over a number of years and are active members. Gary Harland, who leads on all activity relating to weed, disease and pest control for the authority, has no doubt of the importance of the sector as a whole showing its commitment to the highest standards and best practice in such operations. He says ''The Amenity Forum is a voluntary initiative funded by its members which has taken a lead in showing the industry can act responsibly and work together for continuous improvement. The Forum has a significant role in influencing policy. It is far better that we, as a sector, take the lead rather than have changes imposed upon us''
The Amenity Forum is currently engaged in a special campaign to take the message to all parts of the sector; to those specifying contracts, those directly responsible for operations and all other areas of distribution and supply. Whilst certainly for local authorities, finances are very much under pressure, the importance of minimising risk when undertaking maintenance and improvement of amenity areas is vitally important.
Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Forum, says ''There has been much change in the environment around weed and pest control of late with enactment of the Sustainable Use Directive, the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and more. In such circumstances, it is important that all keep fully updated and in touch with developments. The Forum aims to do just that in a very cost effective way''
Whilst the many who follow assured standards, and keep fully informed, have little to fear from the changes, there are those outside who are still not fully aware and do not always follow best practice. The Forum is actively supporting the Amenity Assured standard which aims to deliver compliant and effective pesticide applications in the amenity industry.
Alan Spedding, Secretary to the Forum, said that ''We welcome Wakefield Council's commitment as we do other authorities who are members. However, there still remain many authorities who we believe should join us. Whilst finances are restricted, the importance of minimising risk is paramount and joining the Forum's cause shows commitment to the highest standards in such important activity.''