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As a bridge engineer, I was appalled to see Foster take credit for so much of the design of the Millau Bridge (NCE 16 December). There are many fabulous bridges with huge architectural qualities, but for every one, bar none, it should truly be the engineer that takes the vast majority of the credit.

It is pertinent to note that every major architectural practice is led by a single charismatic individual with a vested interest in his own publicity. This is no longer true for major engineering consultants who, with an increasing monopoly in the infrastructure market, have all become faceless entities.

It is the inexorable drift of public authority procurement processes towards the selection of larger consultants that has generated this lack of personality.

The government is just starting to recognise - rather belatedly - that small business enterprises not only offer a more agile and responsive team, but often also represent better value through service and innovation.

Smaller consultants are more likely to be led by passionate engineers who still take great pride in their creativity and who do not let their achievements be over-shadowed. The sooner government reverses the procurement processes that have created this monopoly by larger consultants, the better for all.

Simon Bourne (F), director, Benaim, simon.bourne@benaimgroup. com

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