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Comment | New year, same issues

The New Year is off and running and already there is sense of deja vu with infrastructure crises and senior management nowhere to be seen.

Last year it was Network Rail and its London Bridge commuter chaos while chief executive Mark Carne holidayed in Cornwall, this it is the Environment Agency’s turn with chairman Philip Dilley and his extended break in Barbados.

As Mott MacDonald’s Simon Harrison tells us, if we learn nothing it is that at times of crisis we need our engineering leaders to be seen.

It is frustrating as there is clearly a great deal that engineers do that is worthy of praise; praise that is not always forthcoming. This year’s New Year’s honours list is a case in point. It is genuinely fabulous to see Transport for London’s director of asset management for surface transport Dana Skelley singled out for an OBE.

She was and is a huge champion of future skills and is, among other even more worthy things, a long-time supporter and judge of New Civil Engineer’s Graduate of the Year Awards. She is also a huge champion of apprentices within Transport for London.

So it is right that she is singled out. But wrong that singled out is not an inappropriate word - there were very few other civil engineers recognised this year and that is a real shame.

But it does re-emphasise the need for the profession, and its leaders in particular, to be more visible. This year promises to be the start of a golden age of infrastructure delivery, with the Tideway kicking off in earnest as the vanguard of a raft of major civils projects that address some of the country’s biggest needs. It’s an exciting time.

These projects will increasingly be delivered by more and more technology-orientated solutions, which makes it even more exciting.

And of course this year brings a new era for New Civil Engineer. That’s something we are really excited about and I hope you are too. Our website is now a place where we can really bring alive the magic and majesty of civil engineering projects with our super-high resolution imagery and videos.

New also for 2016 is New Civil Engineer’s Weekly Wrap email, a review of the week’s news plus analysis of what it means for civil engineers, their work and their careers.

This week we analyse what impact this winter’s floods may have on flood mitigation policy, explore the learnings from the Dubai tower fire, showcase a complex coastal defence scheme and share your views on High Speed 2, the need for Physics A level and more.

To make sure you are not missing out, make sure you are signed up for New Civil Engineer’s Weekly Wrap. You can do this via your profile page

And on or around 20 January digital and print readers will experience our fabulous new look monthly magazine.

Do let us know what you think as we seek to hone our new offer over the coming weeks. It’s an exciting time for the industry and we want New Civil Engineer to convey that.

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