Progress in responsible pesticide use should be made through voluntary measures, wherever possible, DEFRA Minister Lord Bach told the first-ever Amenity Forum Conference.
“Responsible use is needed for best practice and best value,” he stressed. Later this month an Amenity Action Plan will be launched by Defra. Lord Bach also emphasised the need to operate within the law, which was designed to keep people and the environment safe, now clearly explained in the new statutory Code of Practice for the Use of Plant Protection Products.
Copies of the new Code of Practice are available from the website
A Pesticide Safety Directorate (PSD) spokesperson emphasised that the new statutory Code of Practice now clearly embraced the amenity sector and the voluntary Orange Code is obsolete. To make sure Local Authorities are aware of their legal obligations, PSD will be sending a copy of the new Code to all Local Authority Chief Executives.
Amenity Forum Chairman, Jon Allbutt, welcomed the Minister’s comments and said that Local Authorities had to fully engage with the new code and comply with the law to avoid prosecutions. He added “We are delighted with this first conference. This is a wake-up call to everyone using pesticides in the amenity sector. Our industry needs to follow the best advice on how they can meet the challenges of best practice and responsible use of pesticides”
During the conference Bob Breach, on behalf of Water UK explained that water protection is a key priority and the future use of diuron by local authorities can only be sustained if best practice is followed.
The conference also heard from Eddie Wardrobe, formerly Assistant General Manager of Newcastle City Council’s Environmental Services Division, and Richard Minton, Deputy Chairman NAAC, who spoke of the need for better and longer-term partnerships between Local Authorities and contractors. Both speakers stressed that weed control is a specialist area requiring highly trained managers and skilled operators.
Papers from Europe highlighted that other EU countries had similar problems and are using a range of solutions including new chemistry and equipment.