VI needs to keep pressure on to hit targets

THE VOLUNTARY Initiative has made good progress so far, but has more work to do in order to meet its final targets, a steering group annual report has concluded.

The VI runs until March 31 2006 and while it has successfully completed many of its 40-plus projects, there must be no letting up, said Barry Dent, chairman of the VI steering group.

“We are pleased with how much has been achieved by the collaborative effort of our stakeholders and the whole industry. It is vital to achieve our March 2006 targets.”

The report highlighted several targets already met:
• Crop Protection Management Plans – 1.36m ha covered already, exceeding the March 2006 target of 1.2m ha.
• National Register of Sprayer Operators – 2005 target of 17,500 members achieved four months early
• National Sprayer Testing Scheme – progress is on target, with half the treated area covered by tested sprayers

But more work is still needed in the amenity sector, which is still failing to sufficiently adhere to best practice guidelines, the report said.

Future work by the VI is likely to focus on pilot catchment areas, as another four areas will be added to the existing six this autumn, added VI manager Patrick Goldsworthy.

“There is much to be gained by working on a catchment basis and involving all stakeholders, communicating regularly and sharing best practice.”

To find out what is likely to happen to the VI beyond March 2006, see p.42 of this week’s FARMERS WEEKLY magazine (July 29).

Full details of the annual report are available at

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