John Moverley reacts to the trigger of Article 50

The events about the triggering of Article 50 have been numerous and have kept and will keep the media busy.  In both the run up to the vote, and indeed after it, there were and have been varying statements of optimism and doom and gloom. However, as I write, Article 50 has been triggered and the task can begin in implementing the decision made at the ballot box. I have always been someone who sees challenges as opportunities. Yes, change naturally creates uncertainties and there will be real and significant impacts on business in many ways. However, it is important that, whatever our views on BREXIT, we now accept the position and adapt and manage accordingly.

In correspondence to me, many have sought clarification on how BREXIT might impact upon the area of weed, pest and disease control. The fact is that, certainly in terms of regulation and control, nothing changes and is very unlikely to do so at least until the UK negotiates its exit from the EU. The UK has adopted the Sustainable Use Directive in its National Action Plan. In that context, in the immediate term, it is business as usual. The UK has been a leader in promoting and adopting best practice and the Amenity Forum, acting on behalf of the sector, is ready to actively engage with UK government in the period ahead as our exit is achieved.  Over the coming months, we will seek to keep all involved informed of developments and this will be very much an area of debate and discussion at our national conference being held on 13 October.

Change does provide real opportunity for the sector to influence new approaches and to be fully engaged in seeking out solutions to existing problems. Weed, pest and disease control is both important and essential. It ensures our trains keep running, our parks and pavements are safe, our sports fields are fit for purpose, our transport networks remain operational, our environment is sustainable and so much more. A key campaign led by the Amenity Forum is focused on this and seeking to increase awareness of the public and all involved. We should be proud of what we do at whatever level. The quality of UK sports surfaces is well known and respected across the world. We need to step up our voice and present this with pride. Weed, pest and disease control is not a nice to have but is both important and essential.

Professor John Moverely, chair of the Amenity Forum, 29 March 2017