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  • Engineers urged to plug England's daily 3bn litre water leak

    Alan Sim's comment 24 May, 2018 10:02 am

    Whilst it is important we take action on leakage rates to sustain water distribution at suitable levels, we really should be considering other approaches to water use and re-use, especially in the home. We shouldn't be using potable water to flush our toilets and grey water collection should be considered country wide. This would free up a percentage of existing supplies for potable use only.
    Maybe the Planning Inspectorate should get involved and press for inclusion of grey water capture in all new developments.

  • Miami’s billion dollar port tunnel finally finished

    Alan Sim's comment 7 August, 2014 1:24 pm

    Someone should really be proof reading this. The tunnels are 13m in diameter! Furthermore, this article appears very brief given the time, history and controversies involved in this scheme.
    We don't want headlines, we want Engineering.

  • Why are engineers too boring for TV?

    Alan Sim's comment 1 April, 2014 4:32 pm

    I wrote to Talkback Thames the makers of Grand Designs, with an idea for a spin-off show, Grand Designs - Engineering, where the engineering inputs into the ever more elaborate designs would be explained. And these could piggy-back on the original shows as a follow up. This is normal everyday building construction, not Mega Engineering etc.
    I didn't get a reply. Obviously we are not 'sexy' enough for TV.
    Its very frustrating that for more complex construction on these shows the input of the Engineer is glossed over whilst they like to concentrate more on the visual aspect of the finished project.
    No Engineer - no project!

  • NCE Live News Updates Monday 17 March: Higgins calls for HS2 to reach North quicker - but drops link to HS1

    Alan Sim's comment 18 March, 2014 11:27 am

    There is always the risk with these projects that the shiny end, ie London, will benefit first and the end point (lets generalise and call this - the North) never actually reaches the intended target due to time, cost or governmental changes.
    One solution would be to start at the intended target and build south. There is more chance of the scheme reaching fruition if the link with London is the last piece in the puzzle, whether its linked with HS1 or not.
    Or is that just me being cynical?

  • Water is more precious than we think

    Alan Sim's comment 8 April, 2013 1:58 pm

    Interesting lecture and shocking statistics with respect to virtual water usage. However, we, alone, will never reach Global Water Security for two reasons. Firstly, we have little or no influence on overseas water usage and given much of our manufacturing/consumer goods are imported there will continue to be the same wasteful attitude towards water use abroad, particularly in the heavily industrialised nations of the far east. As with CO2 we will have little impact here. Maybe a 'Domestic Water Security' effort would be a start.
    Secondly, with a privatised water industry there will be little encouragement from the private water companies to assist with reducing water usage to the detriment of their profits and dividend. In the Scottish example it is key to note that they have a single controlling qango for the entire country and the government can better influence policy decisions.
    My own view is we need to think a little outside the box and develop a tiered water supply network where some industries can benefit from say a greywater, reclaimed water or even a saline industrial use supply with only basic primary treatment. All industries do not need a fully treated drinking water supply for their operations. But alas, in the privatised environment there will probably be limited interest in investment.

  • Ramboll to lead foundation design for the first US offshore wind farm

    Alan Sim's comment 28 May, 2012 10:10 am

    Come on NCE, as a prominent engineering journal can you not get your facts straight before publishing misleading headlines such as this?
    This is NOT the first wind farm in the USA. In fact the USA currently produces over 11TWh of wind power! A figure only surpassed by China in world stakes.
    Could it be that this is the first OFFSHORE wind farm for the USA, or is it just a misleading marketing ploy by Ramboll to make the headlines?
    Must do better, this is embarrassing.

  • Drought summit stops short of recommending dramatic measures to save water

    Alan Sim's comment 23 February, 2012 2:16 pm

    We don't need drastic measures. As a nation we are still flushing our waste (WCs) with treated water of drinking water quality. This does not have to be the case.
    I think Caroline Spelman has missed an oppotunity here to combine both the future security of water supply with the future demand for housing development. All the Government has to do is insist that ALL new-build properties incorporate 'grey' water capture from all hard surfaces and use this wasted resource to flush our toilets. I can't understand why Local Goverments in those areas most affected have not amended their Planning Guidelines already in this regard, but expect the end users to act.

  • Salmond hails £3bn renewable deal

    Alan Sim's comment 20 September, 2010 5:20 pm

    Why do people such as Peter Wilson have such a xenophobic attitude to all things Scottish!? This is the United Kingdom Mr Wilson and the last I looked fiscal policy is run by Westminster. This story has abslutely nothing to do with nationalistic politics and everything to do with an elected politician trying to generate some oversees trade and improve the job market.
    Is the Olympic Park only paid for with English money?

  • Benn: Engineers need to remedy changing climate

    Alan Sim's comment 3 December, 2009 11:29 am

    Hold on a minute, lets not all get caught up in this. What Mr Benn is asking for is already provided. Any new infrastructure over exdisting watercourses will no doubt be well engineered for future flood patterns. This is controlled by the Environment Agency in many respects.
    The issues we have had in last few weeks are related to historical infrastructure, and masonry arch structures in particular. Unless Mr Benn relaxes the grip of the planners, conservationists and English Heritage (and the public) then we will continue to have these problems well into the future.
    As a Bridge Engineer I know first hand how difficult it is just to repair and modernise any existing arch structures, no matter what classification of road over. To replace all the vulnerable arch structures is nigh on impossible. We'll just have to train any heavy flows through these bridges best we can and inspect them regularly, especially after heavy flooding.
    As for the Government's financial assistance for this, its not even going to scratch the surface. Local authority maintenance budgets are continually stretched and barely cover the absolute minimum.

  • Floods Bill SUDS plans criticised for "creating confusion"

    Alan Sim's comment 21 May, 2009 11:39 am

    I can't understand why we are devloping solutions to remove surface water, but are still flushing our toilets with clean filtered, chlorinated drinking water.
    The SUDS is not a solution and in my view is not well engineered. We should be capturing this surface water and using it again rather than trying to dispose of it. To capture it effectively would be good engineering.
    Until we find solution in how to takle water shortages, of which we are being constantly reminded, we should not be considering the disposal of ANY surface water. Only recently an article pointed out we have areas of water scarcity (affecting 25m people) worse than some areas in Spain and Morocco.
    Water metering is a first step, but must be accompanied by a structured and sensible approach and this must be accepted by all and endorsed by the Government. Grey water capture and use is the next obvious option. Make it a condition that all new housing development MUST install grey water facilities as a planning requirement. Small groups of housing could even share a single underground tank and all pumping and filtering can be provided from solar energy when available.
    I agree that SUDS may be useful for certain highway projects where there is little or no use for the surface water collected and it may not be feasible to channel this to a user. However, ANY development or landscaping that collects surface water as a result should be compelled to find a use for the water first as opposed to disposal.