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Wales view | How Wales can lead the world

Stephen Lawrence

As the new chairman of ICE Wales Cymru I bring to the role 25 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering. I’ve practiced primarily within the Principality of Wales, but have undertaken

My current employer is Mott MacDonald for whom I have the role of business development director.  I am based in Mott MacDonald’s Cardiff office, having lived in Cardiff for 30 years.

My experience has been primarily in the area of environmental engineering, through understanding civil engineering projects and pragmatically working with designers, clients and other stakeholders to create solutions that are socially and environmentally reasonable.

As my career has progressed I’ve become more aware of the social and community impacts that our work as engineers has on the lives of people. Therefore, my theme for my year as chairman of ICE Wales Cymru is a timely challenge to Welsh civil engineers to embrace and deliver the recently enacted Welsh Government’s Wellbeing and Future Generations Act (2015), endorsed recently by the United Nations.

I would like to share with you what we in Wales are doing to address the Act and leave a legacy for future generations. To deliver a successful and progressive Wales we, as civil engineers, must ensure that we consider the impact that our decisions will have on peoples’ lives here in Wales, today and in the future. To achieve this theme, we must:

● Work better together

● Involve people to reflect the diversity of our communities

● Look to the longer term, as well as focusing on the here and now

● Take action to try and stop issues getting worse, or even look to stop them happening.

To support these themes are the three pillars of sustainability: environment, society, and the economy.  

In Wales I would propose we introduce a further pillar – culture – as this is a golden thread which runs throughout Wales. We must support and proactively manage our Welsh environment by demonstrating that civil engineering can recognise and present the correct solutions to environmental issues.

We need to engage with similar like minded bodies to ensure that all issues are correctly understood and solved in a pragmatic and sustainable manner.

To successfully deliver community enhancing projects we must engage positively and constructively with elected members of the Welsh and UK Governments.

The delivery and maintenance of civil engineering infrastructure is key to the future prosperity of Wales. We need to do this by providing safe places of work, rewarding work, and ensuring we leave a long term legacy through the training of future Welsh civil engineers. To do this we must work collaboratively, considering the whole of the construction cycle from initial design through to return the site to conditions suitable for use for generations to come. I hope my Viewpoint on what we are doing in Wales can be shared widely.

My motto for the year is:

“It’s not what Wales can do for Welsh civil engineers, it’s what we can do for Wales”

● Stephen Lawrence is ICE Wales chairman

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