What is the BASIS for your pesticide specifications?

    Herbicides and pesticides are an emotive topic. Their use, although still necessarily at levels which are effective, should overall be kept to a minimum and be highly targeted. We must reduce risks and impacts on human health and the environment. Indeed, their historical use is still filtering through to the aquifer.

    For seasoned professionals who were educated in the use of simazine, atrazine and imidacloprid and have not been in a position to keep up with the host of developments from COSSH through to the Sustainable Use Directive and Integrated Pest management, the world of pesticides and herbicides may seem to become off-limits. It may appear to be another field where specialist advice has to be bought or else hope placed in physical means of control. 

    This may be the case; specialist advice is sometimes needed and some sites call for no chemicals, but there are still meaningful contributions that the landscape professional can make, with only a sensible injection of suitable CPD, such as is offered in connection with associate or advisory level membership of the BASIS scheme https://www.basis-reg.co.uk/.

    Another helpful resource for information is http://www.amenityforum.co.uk/

    What must be grasped as a minimum is the legislation. But even learning enough to dispel some key myths, such as there being no relatively safe residual herbicides any more (when flazasulfuron may be just that) could be another empowering step. 

    There is also a need to understand societal behaviours. For instance, I was struck to hear that a significant number of professional complainers were flushed out in one town when operatives were, as a test, spraying nothing more damaging than water. Look out for some webinars on this topic in the next series.

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