Amenity Forum in drive to raise weed control standard

Putting pressure on council bosses to ensure good practice among weed control contractors is a key aim for the Amenity Forum in 2009.

The organisation will be urging government ministers and local authority chief executives to support the drive for better-trained, more competent contractors.

"We are going top down and bottom up," said Amenity Forum chairman Jon Allbutt. He added that the Forum plans to push three "vital indicators" in the coming months.

They are: greater testing of work equipment through the National Sprayer Testing Scheme; increased membership of the National Register for Spraying Operatives; and a significant increase in uptake of BASIS POWER (Protection of Water, the Environment and Recommendations) certification.

Allbutt said that an industry approach to best practice in weed control could become a model for pan-European standards through the EU Thematic Strategy on Pesticides. He said better standards were a positive by-product of the controversial draft EU legislation, which includes the draft Sustainable Use Directive.

"When we see the substance of the new directive we are assuming our voluntary schemes will become enshrined in the EU Thematic Strategy," said Allbutt.

Allbutt presented the 2009 plans for the Amenity Forum during a Voluntary Initiative Steering Group meeting in London last week.

The steering group - made up of organisations including the Environment Agency, NPTC, Pesticides Action Network UK, NFU and Natural England - agreed to support the Amenity Forum's plans.

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