Amenity Forum chairman Allbutt to retire

The founding chairman and driving force behind the Amenity Forum is to retire.

But Jon Allbutt will continue to fulfil the chairman role until the group's 2009 spring meeting.

A replacement is yet to be decided, but Allbutt said the aim is to identify a successor this year: "Hopefully by Christmas we'll know who the new chair will be, so between then and March I'll be handing the whole thing over."

Allbutt launched the Amenity Forum in 2004 at IoG Saltex, where he outlined the group's priorities: "It is vital that the many diverse organisations in our sector are able to speak with one voice on matters that affect us all.

"We must also ensure there is joint input into government departments and that we contribute to maintaining the invaluable amenity service to society."

Over the past four years the Amenity Forum has lobbied on amenity horticulture issues; most recently the upcoming EU legislation on thematic strategy for pesticides.

"Now is a good time for the forum to plan the next phase in its development, and after five years at the helm it will be time for change," added Allbutt.

Secretary Bob Joice is also planning to retire from his post at the Amenity Forum and the search for a replacement will take place over the coming months.

- For news from the Amenity Forum Conference on Weed Control, held on 2 October, see p6.

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