So local authorities 'lack skills to deliver urban regeneration policies' according to Lord Rogers in his introduction to the Urban White Paper Our Towns and Cities - The Future (NCE 23 November).
I strongly dispute his contention. In the last two years I have made a number of visits to local authorities throughout the UK and have always been impressed by the expertise and dedication of the staff - whether in the basic disciplines of municipal engineering, in obtaining finance, or in the management of major projects.
Urban regeneration schemes are not rocket science, but they do demand a blend of specialist skills for which technical staff in local government have been trained. Where resources are short, then firms of consultants will be ready and waiting to fill the gap. Many of these consultants have been trained in local authorities and would still be employed there if it were not for successive government policies.
Don't knock local authorities, Lord Rogers. They are still the first point of contact for members of the public and will be able and willing to rise to the challenges in the White Paper if adequate cash is made available for them to do so.
John Bircumshaw, Past Chairman AME, Vice President ICE, Abbey View, Pant Lane, Gresford, Wrexham LL12 8HB