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Jo's blog

I am NCE’s reporter for water, environment and local government stories.

Confusion over Suds definition scuppers sustainable development

Posted by Jo StimpsonFri, 28 Oct 2011

A veil of confusion and mystery still surrounds the new sustainable drainage systems (Suds) regime implemented by the Flood & Water Management Act, making it difficult to have useful and productive discussions on the subject.

Carbon footprints: lies, damned lies, and statistics?

Posted by Jo StimpsonThu, 11 Aug 2011

You may have heard the old joke that says that the third type of lie, after lies and damned lies, is statistics. Environmental experts would probably propose a fourth type: carbon footprinting.

Civils in danger of missing out on women graduates

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 13 Jul 2011

Attending civil engineering conferences and industry events as a woman often gives me the distinct feeling of being the odd one out. It was therefore gratifying to see a room filled mostly by female engineers and infrastructure professionals this week at the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) summer reception.

Flood prevention is not all about new defences

Posted by Jo StimpsonTue, 21 Jun 2011

Portsmouth City Council said this week that it plans to impose a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on new developments in the city to raise money for much-needed coastal flood defences (see News). It’s a clever way of making new developments work for the city.

How to cleanse public opinion on investing in water

Posted by Jo StimpsonThu, 9 Jun 2011

Water companies have been keen to reassure the public over hosepipe ban fears caused by this year’s exceptionally dry spring (News last week). But it is widely agreed that water scarcity is a growing problem, and a great deal of engineering work may be needed to tackle it in the future.

Is the UK complacent over risk of earthquakes?

Posted by Jo StimpsonTue, 24 May 2011

Chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman has this week played down the relevance of the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami for the UK’s nuclear stock. But can the UK aff ord to be so complacent?

Flood diversion tactics put engineers in the front line

Posted by Jo StimpsonTue, 10 May 2011

Engineers were heroes and villains at the same time in the United States this week, following an intense operation to demolish part of a levee at Birds Point, Missouri, after the region was inundated with extreme rainfall.

UK flood schemes may benefit from European funding

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 30 Mar 2011

This week saw the opening of the Tywyn Coastal Defence Scheme, a £7.6M flood defence project that will protect 78 properties in the North Wales town.

Are risks from heat waves being taken seriously?

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 16 Mar 2011

The government has shown itself to be switched on to the climate change threats of flooding and energy insecurity. But it is falling behind on another climate risk − the need to adapt the built environment to the risks posed by heatwaves.

Does regulation discourage improving our water assets?

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 2 Mar 2011

Water regulator Ofwat is investigating the extent to which regulation is encouraging water companies to build new infrastructure instead of refurbishing or upgrading existing assets.

Success or failure of an NEC contract is all in the mindset

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 16 Feb 2011

Debates on NEC have found their way repeatedly onto NCE’s pages and website. While staunch fans insist the NEC is the way forward, many others feel distinctly let down by it. Perhaps the best solution is for those unable to make NEC work to simply stop trying.

Risk assessments: don't accept them at face value

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 26 Jan 2011

A landmark court case has illustrated the environmental and legal risks for contractors who accept risk assessments from site operators without making their own investigations.

The water crisis: not just about the money

Posted by Jo StimpsonWed, 19 Jan 2011

Much of the media coverage of Northern Ireland’s recent water crisis honed in on the poor state of the region’s infrastructure, and how badly Northern Ireland Water (NIW) needs to improve it. But in fact, that was only part of the problem.

Shard 2012 offers photographs from the future

Posted by Jo StimpsonThu, 13 Jan 2011

The rapid climb of the Shard’s core structure over the recent months has been exciting to watch.