ALASTAIR Sandels, FICFor, has been elected as ICF president. Alastair has over 35 years’ experience in the sector. He is MD of Trioss, a company that works internationally on resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

He becomes president at a time when demands on the profession have never been greater. Following his election, Alastair said: “It is a privilege and honour to be president of the Institute. I hope as a profession we will look beyond the confines of our professional responsibilities to the wider challenges. The institute is in its strongest position since chartered status was awarded, with more members and stronger finances.”
He said he was keen to build on these strengths, not just by attracting more members, but also by exploring innovation, for example recognising vocational skills as a path to membership. This may mean looking at changes to the constitution and policies with the aim of providing more professional development opportunities for all members in all regions. 

He said: “As professionals we face challenges at all stages of our careers. The Institute’s code of conduct and ethics is powerful and offers a unique benchmark for us and for our stakeholders. If we don’t embrace professional development we will fail to meet our potential. We need to be ambitious as an Institute and for the next generation.”

Succeeding Alastair as vice president, Sharon Hosegood is a chartered arboriculturist – the first to hold the vice presidency – and MD of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates.

She said: “As the first arboricultural vice president, I hope this will encourage more arboriculturists to start the path to chartership. It is an easily recognisable accreditation, and raises our standing amongst other professionals and provides quality assurance.

“We need to let people know what a great career choice this is. The importance of tree officers within local authorities is sometimes not recognised. I find it astonishing that at a time of great pressure on trees, especially our urban trees, some local authorities are not employing tree officers. In private practice our role seems to be more widely accepted, with early consultation on development schemes. What is less understood is that arboriculture is a fascinating and worthwhile profession.”