Danes engage with government about pesticides

Denmark is leading the way in positive interaction with regulators.Steve Isaac, Director – Golf Course Management, recently attended the Danish Greenkeepers Association (DGA) Conference near Aalborg, North Jutland, which was held from 8 to 12 November. The conference, an event subsidised by the Danish Government, attracted 140 delegates, approximately 30% of the DGA’s membership. 

For the first time, the programme provided two distinct paths for delegates to follow: a series of presentations and workshops on aspects of practical greenkeeping, and another on management skills.

Isaac made a presentation about the work of The R&A, and conducted a workshop with the help of the Danish Golf Union’s Torben Kastrup Petersen, who manages their golf course projects.  The workshop focussed on the DGU Green Audit and the online capability to complete this exercise provided by The R&A and DGU.  This development will give Danish clubs a consistent and simple means of reporting on their water, pesticide, chemical and energy use, and their waste production – information that they need to supply annually as the result of a voluntary agreement between the DGU and the Danish Government in 2005.

Golf courses in Denmark only use 0.06% of pesticides applied in the country, a figure which reflects the 37% reduction achieved by the end of 2008 as part of the voluntary agreement. Per Husted of the Social Democratic Party and Tage Leegaard of the Conservative Party, politicians who attended the conference to discuss the Green Audit, were impressed with the facts and figures provided by the DGA and their professional approach towards reducing pesticide consumption. They expressed their support for an extension to the time available to achieve the target of restricting Danish golf clubs to an annual 0.1kg active ingredient per hectare application of pesticide.

Martin Nilsson, Chairman of the DGA, said: “The event was a fantastic success, measured both by numbers of delegates, speakers, suppliers and different courses to participate in, and the quality of what the delegates were actually listening to. The debate with the politicians was also a great success.”

Steve Isaac added: “It was a real achievement for the DGA to get two prominent politicians to their conference and I hope the outcome demonstrates the value of engagement with regulators. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss matters of great importance for the whole of Europe in which the Danes are leading the way.

“The feedback from our workshop was very positive and our time in Denmark cemented The R&A’s excellent relationship with the DGU and DGA.”