Amenity Forum to launch campaign to promote weed control

The Amenity Forum is to run a campaign to boost the visibility and importance of amenity weed control professionals in the eyes of the general public

Important and essential: control of invasive species like Japanese knotweed is crucial
Important and essential: control of invasive species like Japanese knotweed is crucial

The drive will move the forum's agenda on from getting those in the sector to voluntarily adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy as best practice before one is forced upon them, to getting the general public on side.

Announcing the campaign at the APSE parks and green spaces seminar at City Hall, London, on Friday, Amenity Forum chairman John Moverley said that a common complaint from those in the sector was that their use of chemicals such as glyphosate was tightly regulated which consumers are able to buy it from high street shops and garden centres and use it as they wish. Often these are the very same people who complain against the chemicals being used in a professional setting.

Meanwhile he said Amenity Forum members often report trying to keep what they do quiet from members of the public, and to spray at times when they are less likely to be seen.  

"We've got to get this debate into a more realistic direction rather than a knee-jerk reaction. Weed control impacts on every UK citizen. If a UK citizen goes out of their door, weed control impacts on them, their streets, their pavements, their roads. They've got to be safe and they've got to be clean.

"Everybody who works in that sector needs to stand up and be proud. We need a joined-up approach. Let's work together."

Details of the campaign are being kept under wraps until its launch at the Amenity Forum's annual conference on 13 October but Moverley told Horticulture Week it will be a multimedia campaign representing all aspects of amenity work, from golf course grounds staff to weed control on our streets, roads and railway lines. It will point out, for example, that effective control is essential to stop the rampant spread of species such as Japanese knotweed. 

"We've engaged a lot of the sector but we decided that we need to lift public perception of how much effective weed and pest control effectively matter in their lives," Moverley said.

The theme of both this year's conference and the campaign is Important and Essential. The event will be held at The Pirelli Stadium in Burton-on-Trent, East Staffordshire. For more information and to book places see the forum's event page.

Regualar attendee Hortech general manager Duncan Jones said of the annual conference. "We attend because it sets the tone of debate surrounding amenity herbicides and weed control strategies. As a responsible contractor we must be part of the debate and the conference gives us that opportunity.’’ 

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