A new policy on sustainable development for the landscape industry in Wales was agreed at the biannual conference of Fforwm Tirlun.

The conference, which took place at the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli, on Monday November 22, agreed a manifesto that will be adopted by Fforwm Tirlun in its bid to promote and support the Welsh landscape industry. Those attending the conference included representatives from numerous sectors of the landscape industry, including architects, designers, contractors, materials suppliers, plant producers and local authority specifiers. Keynote speakers at the conference were Professor Chris Baines, broadcaster, consultant and environmental campaigner, and Tom Bourne MBE, Environment Director of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA),
Tom Bourne comments: “Sustainable development is a cornerstone of Welsh Assembly Government policy. Other countries look to Wales as an example of a nation that is successfully putting sustainable development into practice.”

Dr David Skidmore, Chief Executive of Fforwm Tirlun, adds: “FForwm Tirlun will be at the forefront of encouraging a landscape industry in Wales that is fully sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially and will be pushing the sustainability agenda forward across the whole of the UK. This is a crucial issue – an unsustainable industry is not a viable industry.”

“At the conference, our members were consulted on a draft policy for sustainable development. This consultation resulted in the following six-point policy being adopted as forum policy. A series of actions to be taken by Fforwm Tirlun were agreed for each of the six principles and these are listed in order of priority.”

Fforwm Tirlun policy on sustainable development
1. Design for sustainability:

encourage a strong, financially viable industry
promote education on sustainable design to clients and the public
promote the concept of a Welsh School of Landscape Architecture
2. Manage land sustainably:

promote a change in specifications to encourage sustainable land use
commission research into sustainable landscape management
promote awareness of environmental legislation
promote understanding of the constraints of different parties, the conflict of perspectives and their resolution
develop systems to produce and verify the origins of locally sourced materials
3. Improve efficiency of resource use:

make available case studies regarding best practice in efficiency and cost saving
educate the industry on resource efficiency
set up links with waste networks
4. Develop skills and reward work:

promote the need for a trained workforce within the industry
promote, amongst clients, the need to contract skilled workforces
develop a robust qualification and accreditation scheme
make available case studies regarding the benefits of a skilled workforce
5. Promote local economies:

promote the establishment of local co-operatives and networks
6. Monitor progress:

Develop indicators applicable to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
David adds: “This policy will underpin every aspect of our work on behalf of the Welsh landscape industry and we shall be encouraging our members to adopt its principles within their day-to-day work.”

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