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False impressions


The article 'Engineers back use of private firms' in relation to water sewerage provision in Tanzania and other developing countries (NCE 9 June) must surely qualify as the worst NCE article ever.

The headline and first sentence imply that the views of some recognisable group of 'UK engineers' will follow.

But it quotes three individuals - a 'chief executive', an 'international director' and an 'advocacy manager'. How these people represent UK engineers was not established.

First came the RedR representative's 'backing'. But all he said was that the private sector involvement 'can't be ruled out'. Second, the representative of the industry body 'British Water' backed the use of private firms more positively. As he would - it's his job.

Finally, e WaterAid representative made some telling points, such as 'privatisation often fails' - but there was no ringing endorsement of the role of private firms in Third World water supply.

From this meagre evidence, NCE managed to spin the line 'Engineers back use of private firms'.

John Northcott (M), 101A Lansdowne Lane, London SE7 8TN

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