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NCE Live News Updates Thursday 9 January 2014: Royal Academy of Engineering nominates first female president; Flood threats remain for the South

So far this morning the news is focused on appointments to engineering societies with the nomination of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s first female president and the appointment of the new ACE chairman.

12.30pm: The Environment Agency is warning that parts of the South of England should be prepared for further flooding this week from groundwater and rivers, as a result of recent heavy rainfall.

Areas including Oxfordshire, Reading, Sonning, Maidenhead, Windsor, Datchet, Egham, Staines and Richmond  could experience flooding over the coming days.

There is also an ongoing risk of flooding from rivers along the Hampshire Avon, the Stour in Dorset, the Parret in Somerset and the Severn in the Midlands. High groundwater levels mean a continued risk of flooding in many areas such as Dorset, south Wiltshire, Hampshire and West Sussex.

There are currently 105 flood warnings and 207 flood alerts in place for England. A flood warning means that flooding of property is expected and that people should take action to prepare.

Environment Agency teams continue to monitor water levels, check and operate defences, while working with partner organisations, issuing warnings and helping communities to prepare. The Jubilee River flood scheme is in operation, which aims to divert water away from communities in Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton. Temporary flood defences are in place and protecting properties in the Oxford area.

Most recent estimates suggest that around 520 properties have flooded since the start of 2014 but over 239,000 properties have been protected by flood defences.

The River Thames is a large, complex river and will continue rise slowly over several days, the Agency added. With dozens of smaller rivers feeding water into the Thames, it is difficult to predict exactly how water levels will respond as the recent rain moves downstream.


10.45am: The Royal Academy of Engineering has nominated its first female president for election in September.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, head of University of Cambridge Department of Engineering would serve a term of five years upon election.

Dowling became a Cambridge research fellow in 1977 and has remained at the university ever since, including visiting research posts at MIT in 1999 and Caltech in 2001. In 1993, she became the Department of Engineering’s first ever female professor.

She started her career as a mathematician and did her PhD in engineering acoustics with professor John Ffowcs Williams, who led pioneering noise-reduction research on Concorde. She now leads research on efficient, low emission combustion for aero and industrial gas turbines and low noise vehicles, particularly aircraft and cars.


10.40: WSP Global chairman Chris Cole is to be the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) chairman for 2014 

Chris Cole has over 40 years of experience in the engineering and consulting services fields. He joined WSP at its inception, becoming chief executive in 1987. He joined the board of ACE in 2010, in 2013 he was elected chaiman of the its Large Consultancy Group, and served as vice-chairman for the past three years. In November 2011, he was presented with the first European CEO Lifetime Achievement Award by ACE.

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “He is a major player and strategic operator within the global consultancy and engineering industry and his experience of the infrastructure, built and natural environment sector is second to none.”


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