The Amenity Forum is the UK’s voluntary initiative seeking to promote best practice in all aspects of amenity operations and, in particular, in terms of weed, pest and disease management. It has an independent chairman and each year produces an Annual Report to demonstrate to government, policy makers and indeed everyone that the sector is achieving its objectives. With the implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive in the UK, the government adopted a national action plan. This involved some legal requirements in terms of operator training, sprayer testing and purchasing of pesticides but a voluntary approach was adopted for the remaining requirements. In effect the government looked to the sector to work together and deliver what was needed.
The UK voice
The Amenity Forum is the vehicle for this and has become very much the UK voice on such matters. It is funded by annual contributions from organisations who wish to demonstrate their commitment to good practice; each pays the same, whatever their scale of operation and has an equal voice. Currently some 70 organisations contribute including manufacturers, distributors, contractors as well as organisations representing green keeping, groundsmanship, railways, lawncare, horticulture and many more. As professional gardeners we are very much included in all of this and indeed the PGG is in discussion about establishing stronger links with the Forum.
At the centre of its activity is its website which is an invaluable source of information with guidance materials on a wide range of topics. The Forum also has two other sites, one aimed directly at the public emphasising the importance of what happens in amenity horticulture and one promoting the Amenity Standard. The latter has recently been introduced and the plan is for this to develop and be widely recognised as an assurance that operations undertaken by those carrying it are of the highest professional standards.
Free Updating events
It is hoped that over time the logo will appear in places such as our parks and public gardens, demonstrating that all operations undertaken there are of the highest levels. The Forum also runs a series of free Updating events across the UK. These are open to PGG members; all you need to do is register. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As their chairman, Professor John Moverley says, ‘we should be proud of what we do and that we seek to do this at the highest standards. I recently was delighted to attend the AGM of PGG and look forward to strengthening links going forward’.