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Peter Wilson

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Comments (145)

  • Comment on: Humber Bridge's first project manager Ron Burns dies

    Peter Wilson's comment 29 October, 2012 10:36 am

    The tragedy of the Humber Bridge was the wrong choice of foundation for the River Pier. Howard's went for a caisson solution despite many having serious doubts, including the Client's Consultant, that sinking a caisson through such ground was too risky. Events proved them right as it was found very difficult and took far, far too long to sink the caisson - a major cause of the significant cost and time over-runs which delayed Client's income stream and resulted in an escalating cash flow problem which was never recovered despite high toll charges.

    A further problem was the Southern Anchorage - an infilled dead weight diaphragm wall cell structure as required because of a lack of shallow depth bedrock. Delays were incurred here due to diaphragm wall problems caused by excessive ground water pressure from the sea outside the levee relative to the platform level - the bentonite could sustain the trench walls. Howard's were advised this platform needed raising at Tender stage!

    I worked on the Tender for both the Pier and Anchorage works - a piled Pier foundation built off a sand island temporary caission, and a diaphragm walling off a raised platform for the Anchorage! The Tender was not successful!

    There was a public request from the Contractor for massive claims payments at the 1974 ICE Conference on Deep Basement Diaphragm Wall and Piling, which was equally publicly rejected by the Consultant. We competitors, in the audience, had a severe fit of Schadenfreude!

  • Comment on: Fleming finalists announced

    Peter Wilson's comment 22 October, 2012 6:00 pm

    I assume this prize is named after Dr. Fleming who was the Technical Director for Cementation Piling and Foundations in the early 70's: one of a dying breed, even then, who would stand his corner, take on anyone, and show an excellent fundamental, theoretical and yet very practical understanding of difficult geo-technical and foundation problems and provide their solutions.

  • Comment on: National water policy vital says water industry

    Peter Wilson's comment 18 October, 2012 3:59 pm

    "Water industry leaders have called for the government to develop a national water policy that sets out the strategic priorities for managing the UK’s limited water resources (for water supply)."

    Meanwhile, increasing numbers of people are having increasing difficulty in getting insurance cover for their house, or are being asked for exhorbitant premiums, because of the increasing threats and frequency of flooding!


    Where's the problem? In the proper free market we should have, the Water Companies would be investing in whatever works are necessary for collecting and delivering this more abundent water for treatment, and all on their own initiative, whilst at the same time maintaining and even reducing unit prices!

    20 years plus since privatisation; the Ministry has still not got it right and the W ater Companiestill put their hands out for more of our money!

  • Comment on: Lord Deben to head climate change committee

    Peter Wilson's comment 12 September, 2012 1:33 pm

    FOE recommendation and personal conflicts of interest involving significant direct personal commercial interests! More of the same, then and clearly not providing "independent" expert advice!


  • Comment on: Hendry replaced as energy minister

    Peter Wilson's comment 5 September, 2012 4:03 pm

    "This should be left to the market, and the cheapest technologies should be encouraged to make the maximum contribution"

    To do this you have first to

    1. take out all subsidies,
    2. then ensure you include all CAPEX and OPEX costs for all works necessary for any particular system,
    3. then compare them over a Total System's Life Cycle for costs per unit energy generated and costs per tonne CO2 saved,
    4. and finally compare the reductions in global CO2 provided by this particular UK systemy by, say 2020 given current global CO2 trends and intended UK capacity in this particular Power Generation System.

    Do the numbers for Wind Farms replacing all UK Coal Fired Plants - the greatest CO2 benefit possible with Wind Farms, including Transmission Lines and Gas Turbines as necessary full time equal standby's and then do the same for the equivalent Coal Fired capacity in Gas Turbines. Then compare the benefits of these UK Wind Farms (roughly the 32 GW intended) c/w UK Gas Turbines for unit power costs and then compare the two systems in terms of likely global CO2 emissions savingsallowing for current annual global CO2 emissions increases till 2020 given by the largely uncontrolled fossil fuel emissions from the Developing World, including China and India who are both now on major programmes of Coal Fired Power Plant construction and increased capacity.

    Not only are the costs of UK Total Wind Farm power massively more than Gas Turbine's power; and far more difficult and longer to provide and integrate/manage within the overall UK Power System, but the global benefits in CO2 emissions from the UK using these Wind Farms compared to similar capacity Gas Turbines alone are miniscule - less than 0.05% and falling! What a horrendous penalty for both the UK electorate and UK plc and UK competitiveness for something environmental in reducing CO2 emissions which is totally ineffective - even supposing the histrionics and breast beating about CAGW were justified!

    We used to be a respted Engineering profession, providing efficient products and services and value for money systems

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