The Groundsman

November 2014

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TECHNICAL UPDATE 14 the Groundsman November 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions n my opening address to conference as chair of the Forum, I was able to report on some excellent progress in the sector with its commitment to best practice. Increasing numbers are committed to operating at Amenity Assured standards and the Forum has a growing membership. However we cannot be complacent. It is important that we engage everyone in our sector with an interest in this area, whether as operators, specifiers, advisers or in any other capacity. It is very important that they support the Amenity Forum and that the industry stays in control rather than having change imposed upon it. The Forum will continue with its wide range of activities to further engage with all involved. We are the voluntary initiative for our sector and it is important that we all work together to maintain high standards. We can be proud of our progress in delivering to the National Action Plan to date but there are areas we still need to improve and must do so. This position statement was supported by Grant Stark from the Chemicals Regulation Directive (CRD) in his presentation. He reported on progress with the National Action Plan, arising from implementation of the various directives. The amenity sector had made real progress but he urged all involved to I Staying in Control This was the title and purpose of this year's Amenity Forum annual conference and exhibition held at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. It sought to stress the importance of the industry driving best practice and continuing to drive up standards rather than having change imposed upon it. There is much change in the area of weed, pest and disease control following enactment of the Sustainable Use Directive and implementation of the Water Framework. How the sector responds will be crucial By: John Moverley keep matters moving forward in this important sector. Integrated Control and a European Perspective Key to future developments is the need for everyone to adopt an integrated approach considering all the options available for control, pesticide and non pesticide. The conference heard from Ruth Mann from STRI on recent developments in sports turf. She reported upon research in this area and stressed the importance of everyone dealing with managed amenity grass to keep up to date and adopt an integrated approach. Ian Edser from Amey PLC stressed how such an approach could have significant environmental impact and was increasingly seen as a crucial factor across all the many contracts administered by his organisation. Delegates were then updated on what was happening in Europe by Adrian Dixon. He identified some key points in the various national action plans and clearly demonstrated marked differences in approach. There is no doubt that the UK's voluntary approach has real strengths. Anne Mette Dahll Jensen gave an interesting and sometimes alarming insight into how the changes were impacting in Denmark. A Question of Water The changes and challenges of controlling weeds and pests close to water were emphasised in a series of three presentations followed by discussion. They gave perspectives from the utility sector, water catchment groups and the Environment Agency. The exacting standards of the Drinking Water Directive were emphasised. The equivalent of one aspirin tablet in an Olympic size swimming pool pushes water quality to unacceptable. There is no room for error in meeting the standard and all the speakers illustrated that everyone needs to take the greatest care whatever method of control is adopted. This applies to proximity to all types of water source. The importance of keeping groundwater supply unpolluted was also a real challenge. The Amenity Forum has produced a couple of very valuable guidance notes on this subject which can be found at Case Studies Within the programme there was also opportunity to hear case studies covering, to name just two, problem weed control and the challenges faced by a large urban council in keeping streets, pavements, parks and highways safe and clean. Sheffield Council is involved with the largest authority PFI scheme in this area in the UK involving £2bn investment over 25 years. It is a large area and it has 2,050 miles of pavement. Key issues in weed control are minimising risk and being cost effective and, wherever possible, adopting an integrated approach. An attentive audience at the Amenity Forum's annual conference

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