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Letters to the editor

The Editor welcomes letters at 151 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4QX

fax: (0171) 505 6667 e-mail: nceedit@construct.emap.co.uk

and reserves the right to condense.

Transfer under threat

Your report of Professor Richard Neale's accusations of 'disenfranchisement' of certain civil engineering students should also be extended to those taking part time degrees.

During my period with Mid Glamorgan's County Council I was able to send several young technicians to Glamorgan University, as it is now known, to take a part time civil engineering degree. They had all come to the Land Reclamation Unit with good GCSEs but poor A-levels following a period of disenchantment with the education system in the sixth form. However after a short time in an interesting job they achieved good HNCs and were accepted at Professor Neale's university where several have achieved good results and are now well on their way to achieving chartered status.

This will not be possible in the future under the new SARTOR regulations as technicians going down this route will never be able to achieve the minimum points from their A-levels and it is highly unlikely they would be able to transfer from IEng to CEng at a later date when they are considered mature enough!

I consider that some provision should be made for these cases and all other students as described by Professor Neale, so that they all have a chance to become chartered engineers.

Paul Wright (F), formerly Mid Glamorgan County Council land reclamation officer PaulEWright@compuserve.com

Guarding the Angel

In responding to Mr Lane's letter (NCE 5 March) on the Angel of the North it must be recognised that the engineer's ability to contribute works of art is not limited to sculptures but extends to bridges, communication towers and many forms of sculpture. Engineers should always aspire to bring art into engineering.

As regards the rest of Mr Lane's letter, it is correct to state that no mention has been made in the media on the issue of maintenance and inspections. Maintenance will be carried out as part of planned regular inspections by Gateshead MBC.

The sculpture is constructed of weathering steel with a design life of over 100 years. The sculpture is such that water will shed easily, and that remaining will quickly dry out.

As regards wind blown abrasion, this has been adjudged not to be a problem. The massive 50mm thick ribs will not be affected and at the most critical stressed section, from the ankle to the chest, the load is taken by an inner steel core - which is covered by plate steel to define the shape of the body. Any unlikely minor loss of section would not therefore affect the integrity of the structure. At the lower levels there is the possibility of accumulation of debris but this is accessible and can be easily cleaned.

The foundation bolts are of 50mm high yield steel with more than a full bond length anchored into the concrete pedestal. The whole of the base plate and the bottom of the Angel's feet have been encased in concrete to provide protection.

John Gregory (G), Ove Arup & Partners, Bede House, All Saints Business Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2EB.

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