Chairman’s Blog – Summer 2017

Whilst often called the holiday season, July and August are high pressure times for all involved in maintaining amenity areas. This is the time of great sporting events and for visits to the park and travel. As we all know, without proper professional maintenance, none of this could happen. Amenity impacts on every UK citizen every day providing safe, healthy and sustainable  menity areas fit for purpose.

The professional approach requires use of all management measures available – cultural, biological, mechanical and chemical. As a Forum, we promote best practice and issue guidance notes and other advice. We urge those involved in issuing maintenance contracts to ask if the operator is a member of the Amenity Forum and commits to its objectives of best practice. We also
recommend that they operate as Amenity Assured. Just like anyone employing a tradesperson should now seek evidence of their qualifications, the same should apply to all
aspects of amenity management.

I have been impressed recently by the quality of sports surfaces for events such as the Open golf, Wimbledon and the cricket test matches, proving that we are the best in the world at what we do. This is at all levels and I was pleased to speak recently at the UK Parks and Gardens Live event which showcased this. I am also soon to speak at the National Rail Network conference. Again it is important to emphasise without those controlling weed growth on our rail lines, the trains would not run.

The Forum is an independent organisation reporting to government promoting best practice and seeking to communicate to the wider public why amenity matters. We have a separate website running alongside our main one This highlights many of these issues and is well worth looking at.

Chemicals for weed, pest and disease control remain a very important tool in maintaining areas and often provide the most cost effective and efficient method. Consumers rightly will always have questions about the use of chemical products. It is reassuring to be able to say that any herbicide or similar product used in the UK has to undertake the most rigorous testing before any release is possible and on-going monitoring continues. You can therefore be sure of their safety. Contrast that level of testing with that for some other household products. Have a look in the cupboard umnder your kitchen sink sometime!

Professor John Moverley