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Severn heaven


Jackie Whitelaw's comment (NCE last week) made me proud of my profession. It was supremely pragmatic, steering a thoughtfully mature path between the Armageddon warnings of the likes of The Guardian's George Monbiot and the global-warming deniers such as the Daily Mail's Melanie Phillips. Yes, the profession should always be on the side of sustainability and environmental good practice - go Quentin Leiper!

But let's get down to specics. I believe the profession should have a keystone project that it can throw down as a challenge to the 'foamers', so widely and ill-temperedly separated on this important issue. I propose that that project should be the Severn Barrage.

The extremist 'greens', if you don't mention the threat of global warming, hate it. Factor in the threat of global warming and they are really dropped on the horns of a dilemma - a good place for them, some may say. The sceptical and arguably reckless who don't trust 'the science', as it is now called, will say it is uneconomic and hence damaging to the UK's competitiveness.

But Sir Nicholas Stern in his report has given us 1% of UK GDP to invest in our future and, by example, the future of the planet. Let the UK civil engineering profession throw down the gauntlet of a real and sustainable project that can and will reduce our national carbon footprint - on time and on (Stern's) budget.

John Moss (M ret) moss.john@btinternet. com

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