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Expert selection

THE COMPOSITION of the Government's Expert Group on Thaumasite has been questioned by independent experts this week.

The 14 strong group, headed up by Institution of Structural Engineers president elect Professor Leslie Clark, includes representatives from the National House Building Council and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, as well as from the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Highways Agency, and trade associations.

It met for the first time on Friday and will now work out how to meet the Government's tough six month deadline for producing guidance on thaumasite attack.

But independent consultants claimed that the group lacks specific expertise and branded the appointments 'political' rather than being in the interest of science.

One independent expert is understood to have been told by the Government that he could not be accepted on to the panel because he was an individual and not a representative of a 'generic group'.

However, a Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions spokesman rejected this claim. 'The group is pretty high powered and selections were made on the basis of expertise in fields which are related to the problem,' he said.

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