The APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, fencing and biomass show. Here, exhibition secretary Ian Millward offers an insight into how preparations are coming along for APF 2022.

I write this after having just returned from our second APF committee and site meeting for APF 2022. Our normal meeting schedule is October, February, April and June, but we needed to build another in to catch up and check everything through after such a long period of inactivity.

Jemma Bargery and Mat Box have both slipped seamlessly into their new roles of chief co-ordinator and assistant chief co-ordinator and any sibling rivalry between sister and brother has yet to surface.

READ MORE: APF: Ian Millward on the postponement of this year’s event to 2022

Succession planning is a vital part of any business strategy and it is something we built into our committee a long time ago. No one knows when any of us might be beamed up by aliens or step under the proverbial bus, and having people ready to take over is reassuring. All APF committee members have an assistant to cover in case of any problems. We continue to look to bring new blood onto our team as we look forward to future events.

Forestry Journal:

I recently bumped into the APF Demo’s founding father Roger Fitter, who stepped down way back in 2002. He kindly offered his help if we had a role he could fulfil for next year. If I am as hale and hearty as Roger is at 86 I will be very pleased.

Our exhibitor site meetings in October and November saw more new exhibitors book space for APF 2022 and it is good to see so many new companies booking in with us, having heard about how good a place the show is to exhibit to the forestry and arb industries. For any company not yet booked in, our next site meetings are at 2 pm on Wednesdays 16 February, 13 April and 22 June, all at the Kings Court Hotel, Alcester, B49 5QQ.

You will be delighted to hear that one agenda item which took up a lot of time at our recent meeting was the traffic plan for APF 2022. Last time we got it wrong – not all our fault, as we complied with certain police requests which simply didn’t work and got caught out when forecasted bad weather meant an unusually large amount of traffic on day one. We have thought about this long and hard and brought a specialist into the team to help us. Tony Wall is an ex-policeman and has been involved with traffic management for many years, looking after traffic for large events such as Glastonbury and the Game Fair. He is also currently responsible for the traffic management for all Ragley Estate’s own events. Having someone used to dealing with local events is immensely beneficial as he knows all the right people to speak to in the police, highways, county council, etc.

Our main change is that, for the first time, we are having two visitor entrances with separate car parks to split traffic coming from the north and south, and having three routes into them. This will be actively managed by VMS boards, CCTV and police-approved traffic officers to ‘fire-fight’ any congestion by switching routes as required. For this to work we will need your help. Satnavs are great for getting from A to B but not so good for us when you get close. For the system to work properly, we will ask you to follow our signs, which may not be what your satnav is saying but will be the quickest and most efficient route in.

READ MORE: APF: How the event will forge ahead for 2022

I know some readers might think our traffic plan is drawn up the day before, on the back of a fag packet, but I can assure you an awful lot of planning goes into it and it is a very technical thing. Did you know that on average any entrance to an event can handle about 600 cars an hour and, if parked properly, you can fit 150 cars in an acre?

I have had some very positive meetings with various potential sponsors and organisations in the last month and I hope that I can announce some exciting new developments in my next diary. We are constantly looking to move the show onwards and upwards and make it an even more exciting and enjoyable visit for everyone.