THE BRITISH Geotechnical Society's 50th annual general meeting in June may have been its last.
Outgoing BGS chairman Dr Bill Craig concluded the meeting at ICE's Great George Street headquarters with an impassioned plea to members to support the latest merger talks with the ICE Ground Board.
Craig outlined the background to the proposal to form the British Geotechnical Association, a new single body representing the learned society activities of the British geotechnical community.
Should the proposal be approved by BGS membership, the new body could be in place by the start of next year.
Craig explained that despite the negative view that followed the collapse of previous merger talks in 1996, the current proposal had significant advantages for both bodies. Whereas the previous talks focused on amalgamating the two societies, the emphasis now is on creating a single body that best represents the community.
'Both the BGS and Ground Board committees have discussed it and no one has objected to the proposal now on the table.'
He said the BGS had failed to attract adequate membership over the years - in particular it had not made an impact in the regions. The move would,
he added, bring the BGS formally back into the ICE, with independence 'to some degree'.
Before handing over to incoming BGS chairman Quentin Leiper, Craig gave a rallying call to membership, saying 'I believe the future of the BGS is in the BGA within ICE.'
A memorandum of understanding detailing the proposed merger will be sent out shortly to members for consideration and comment. The topic will be discussed at the next BGS evening meeting in September, and this will be followed with a postal ballot.
If the outcome is positive, BGS statutes require a special general meeting to ratify the vote, which would probably take place towards the end of the year.
New BGS chairman Quentin Leiper outlines the proposal in this month's Talking Point on page 3.