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GLA invites more policy input from engineers

ICE news

CIVIL ENGINEERS should share their expertise with politicians and influence policy, the Greater London Assembly (GLA) transport committee chair told an ICE audience last Thursday.

Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone urged engineers to make their views known, as she responded to the ICE London's Agenda for change document.

Agenda for change spells out the ICE London region's wish list for transport, energy, waste and water policies in the capital.

Featherstone welcomed input from the profession. She said: 'You have a powerful voice. You haven't used it until the last couple of years but you have great influence.

'Other institutions don't necessarily have the same breadth of knowledge. You should look out for consultations, submit your opinions, which would obviously be better informed than most, lobby politicians and brief them.

'You really can make a difference, ' Featherstone urged.

'The mayor isn't stupid. He will jump on a good idea. He may not attribute it to the ICE but be assured, he and his private office are always on the lookout for the next thing that will solve a problem, so I think the ICE has every opportunity to influence the mayor.'

Agenda for change refers to the popularity and passenger capacity of trams, which Featherstone backs.

She highlighted Croydon Tramlink as a 'huge success' and spoke of her desire to see trams ferrying shoppers up and down Oxford Street as a £65M offshoot of the proposed Camden to Peckham route. This, she said, would lead to the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

The need for improved east to west links across London is also covered by the document.

Featherstone is optimistic about the delivery of Crossrail and added that her party was keen to see the Heathrow Express extended to become the Heathrow to Stansted Express.

She also agreed that integrating ticketing and timetabling would encourage greater use of public transport and argued that establishing a smart card system would cut down on fare dodging - a major loss of revenue.

But Featherstone poured scorn on Agenda for change's claim that all transport users are enabled on London's streets.

Significant changes are required before the city can be described as cyclist friendly, she said.

'In parts of central London, surfaces are a spine-jangling patchwork. We can't say that all users are enabled.'

She referred to a target of 30% of journeys being made by bike, as in cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam but said the current figure was nearer 3%.

Her view converged with Agenda for change on the subject of the Thames, though.

wanting to see more freight shifted by this route.

The meeting was organised jointly by the ICE London region and the Association of London Graduates & Students.

ICE London chairman Angus McEvoy added that further meetings with GLA members, hopefully including Ken Livingstone, were being planned.

He was heartened by Featherstone's call for more input from the ICE. 'It's what our members want. They want a higher profile.'

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