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ICE winds of change


May I express some concern at the ICE report 'Learning to live with rivers' (NCE 8 November)?

This publiction makes many points which needed to be made; and, with trivial exceptions, the conclusions and recommendations are well considered, well written, and incontrovertible.

The difficulty lies in the body of the report. In brief, this is focused entirely on urban flooding and seems to accept a strategic policy of reducing farmland to wetland with views to returning to 'nature' and increasing biodiversity. This policy is controversial and absence of a critical discussion of it makes the report read as a whole hearted endorsement of this strategy by the Institution.

The report mentions five pilot studies to develop 50-year catchment management plans.

Perhaps the next step for the Institution should be to gather together and bring into the public domain all the work done on these plans so the various approaches by the various firms involved can be compared. Input can then be obtained from those who have not been immediately involved in this important initiative.

Peter Smart, civil engineering department, Glasgow University, G12 8QQ.

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