Launch of The Amenity Standard

Delegates at the Amenity Forum workshop being introduced to the new online toolbox and integrated weed management plan template

On Tuesday the 4th of February 2020, The Amenity Standard was officially launched by Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment, at the conference "Amenity Management in Scotland: Setting the Standard" - organised by the Amenity Forum and hosted by SASA, Edinburgh.

The Amenity Standard is a quality management benchmark, that was created to guarantee that public spaces are maintained to the highest professional levels; seeking to keep all amenity areas safe and healthy for all to use. In part, the scheme aims to offer the public reassurance over the practices used to maintain their green spaces, especially with regards to the application of pesticides.

In addition to the launch of the Standard, the conference had presentations from: Tracy Ware (HSE), giving an overview of the regulatory landscape and the principles of sustainable pesticide use; John Moverley (Amenity Forum) introducing the work of Amenity Forum; Jackie Hughes (Scottish government) outlining the current policy landscape; Wane Priestly (APSE) highlighting local authority challenges regarding concerns about the safe use of chemical control methods; and Ruth Mann (STRI) on holistic approaches to weed, pest and disease management. A workshop was run by Steve Hewitt, introducing delegates to the Amenity Forum’s new online toolbox and integrated weed management plan template.

While the main focus of presentations at the conference centred on the use of herbicides for weed control, questions were raised about the awareness of plant health and biosecurity within the industry. Moving forward, the Amenity forum and Plant Health Centre both expressed the desire to establish a close working relationship that will see biosecurity considerations become more embedded in The Amenity Standard.