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Ability should come first


I was disappointed to read President Leiper's declaration that some of the members of the government's new Infrastructure Planning Commission should be chartered engineers.

As the person who originally suggested establishing a National Infrastructure Council in 2002 and who chooses to remain a graduate engineer, I believe the ICE leadership should not leave itself open to accusations of 'chartership snobbery'.

When I called for an independent infrastructure planning body in 2002, the ICE, CBI, Institute of Directors and a host of other institutions gave the idea a lukewarm response.

I am pleased that they have belatedly seen the benefits of removing national infrastructure planning decisions from the government and its four-five year election cycle.

If the proposals in this white paper become law, important infrastructure decisions can be taken in the long-term interest of the country.

It is not the ICE's fault that the UK's infrastructure is in such a sorry state compared to our European neighbours.

But the ICE leadership does have the opportunity to put 'ability' before 'title' and include all civil engineers in this important national debate.

Brian Pope (G), former ICE Council member, Brian@brianpope. org. uk

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