Updating Events 2018 – Amenity Forum on tour:

The Amenity Forum has recently completed the presentation of 14 free Updating Events across the UK, from Devon to Scotland and between, including venues in Wales and Northern Ireland. In total, some 450 delegates attended our events, representing all areas of activity across the diverse and vitally important amenity sector. We would like to thank all those who contributed and made the events so successful. Without them, it just would not be possible.

The theme for 2018 was ‘Meeting the Challenge’ with an emphasis on the need for training and continuous professional development, ensuring accurate spraying techniques and on the need for and ways of implementing an integrated approach to amenity maintenance. A popular session was also provided by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate who provided an update on policy matters.

At each event our Chairman, Professor John Moverley provided his take on policy change and how it might impact on the individual sectors of amenity. We are pleased to report excellent feedback on the programme from those attending and delighted to confirm that we already have plans in hand for 2019.

Life on the road – “What band are you with?”

Our Chairman, who attended every event, certainly clocked up the mileage on road and rail. On one of his stays at a hotel, he was asked the purpose of his stay. He replied “I am on tour”. The receptionist then coolly said “Oh, and what band are you with?” To which John replied “the Keep Britain Moving Band”.

 

Hot topics and common discussion themes

Hot topics were plentiful, with the future for chemicals certainly figuring in all the events. This was especially the case for those involved with sportsturf. Recent years have seen the withdrawal of a number of products which has really put pressure on those involved in this industry. At three of the events, hosted by BIGGA and IOG, experts from STRI examined the options and a theme running through all the events was the need for an integrated approached combining cultural, mechanical and chemical, the emphasis being on a preventative approach.

Other topics addressed included the increasing emphasis on water quality issues, in particular ensuring the sector meets legal requirements. There is a focus on the sector to make sure it stays up to date in terms of its staff development and, very importantly, a focus on communications. In terms of water issues, the Forum reported on how it was strengthening its links with water suppliers.

A new practical training course for operators was launched by BASIS and the real progress in upping our game in communicating the importance of what our sector does was reported. In saying this, John emphasised that everyone had a role to play in this and, as he often does, urged the sector to be proud of what it does and say it loud.

Playing a part in policy issues

The Forum is undoubtedly the voice of the sector on all matters concerning weed, pest and disease management and John reported on a range of policy issues and detailed how the Forum was being asked for its view, and contributing to the debate.

The recent launch of the Government’s 25 year plan entitled ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’ is a significant policy initiative opening up opportunity and challenge. The Forum is making the case for amenity and its importance impacting on every UK citizen every day. In doing this, it is important that everyone involved in amenity, gets involved. The Forum now has some 70 organisations in membership covering all areas of the diverse sector and activities. These organisations are committed to best practice. However there remains those still who need to be reached and this is an important task going forward.

Promoting best practice within our sector

Senior staff from the Chemicals Regulations Directorate emphasised the importance of the sector with regards to adopting best practice, and pointed to the 10 Golden Rules (available from the Forum website) which are backed up by the many guidance notes. They were very pleased at the way in which the sector was getting behind the voluntary initiative represented by the Forum and again emphasised the need for all to play their part. In this way the sector stays in control rather than having more change imposed upon it.

 

Join us at our Annual Conference – 9th October, 2018

All in all, this was successful series of events and planning has already started for 2019. A future major event this year is the Annual Conference and associated exhibition. This has become a must attend event for the sector and once again the quality and breadth of speakers and supporters is impressive. So make a date now, October 9th at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton on Trent, or better still book and get a £10 early bird discount on an already very competitive delegate rate. We hope to see you there!

 


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