Amenity forum to discuss pesticides issue

Limitations on herbicide application in public areas under the EU Thematic Strategy on Pesticides are to be discussed by the Northern Amenity Forum next week.

The Northern Amenity Forum is holding an event at Woolley Hall, Wakefield, on Wednesday (14 January) to discuss how the sector is changing.

Hosted by Wakefield City Metropolitan District Council, the meeting will consider reduced availability of products such as glyphosate through the Water Framework Directive and Sustainable Use Directive, as well as training issues.

The first Northern Amenity Forum seminar - held last July - was attended by representatives from eight local authorities.

A total of 15 local authorities are set to attend next week's meeting.

Northern Amenity Forum founding member Mark Dempsey, from Calderdale Council, said: "If the group can raise the profile of what has previously been considered to be a 'Cinderella working area of local authority amenity and grounds maintenance activities, particularly with the tightening up of environmental legislation and the effects of the European pesticide directive, this can only be a good thing."

The Northern Amenity Forum aims to have a stronger voice and representation on the Amenity Forum, in light of forthcoming changes in plant protection product regulations within the EU.

Dempsey said the forum would also provide an exchange for ideas on working methods, particularly in respect to hard surface weed control. He added that local authorities would need to consider whether they would be prepared, by mid-2010, to effectively manage public spaces with reduced pesticides.

"There is the potential for severe limitations on pesticide applications in public places," explained Dempsey.

He added that there could also be problems in surface quality for amenity sports facilities.


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