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Take the 2012 challenge

Comment

In three weeks representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will descend on London to find out whether the UK is fi t, ready and willing to host the 2012 Games.

One thing is absolutely clear - this is a national issue. Winning the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games will be a prize for the whole of the UK, not just for London.

I totally agree with Arup chairman Terry Hill's comments at a 2012 bid conference last week that professional bodies like the Institution of Civil Engineers should be right behind the bid. Their failure to do so sends a very negative message to the judges.

When the IOC arrives on 16 February, they will scrutinise Lord Coe's proposals to transform the wastelands of east London into a new Olympic village and look carefully at the logistics, security and event management plans.

But they will also gauge just how much the UK really wants to host the Games. They will carefully assess the UK's desire to hold the Games and judge the level of excitement generated by the bid process, as well as the commitment to making it the best event ever.

It is a massive opportunity but a massive challenge.

The competition is very, very strong. Regardless of whether or not you live in London, your support - the support of the company that you work for, the institution you belong to - will be a vital part of the winning formula.

ICE Council decided not to formally back the 2012 bid last July. This was disappointing when you consider the input that ICE members will have had in the bid and the role they will play should the bid be successful.

The decision was reached after a short discussion concluded that the 2012 bid was a London-focused issue and not something that a global institution (that happens to have it headquarters in London) could formally support.

So the baton was passed to ICE's London region which has now opted for an eleventh hour poll of the capital's ICE members before making a statement on the issue. And it hopes to make this statement, positive or negative, by the time the IOC departs.

Well, I can just about hear the stable door starting to swing shut.

At least the recently revamped Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) has nailed its colours to the mast and publicly pledged the industry's support for the bid.

Thank goodness someone in our sector has. Even if you have no interest in the Olympics or sport, it is clear that bringing the 2012 Games to London represents a fantastic investment opportunity that will kick start a host of infrastructure projects - and not just in London. It is a huge prize for everyone involved in infrastructure planning and delivery and dithering over support is frankly daft.

NCE is totally behind the bid and is working with the 2012 bid team to produce a special issue to highlight to IOC judges the commitment of civil engineering and construction to the bid.

If you think your profession and industry should make its backing for the bid known, email your support to nce2012@construct. emap.

com or send it by post and we will include your views in the package passed to the judges before they fl home on 20 February.

Antony Oliver is editor of NCE

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