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The environmental issue


I agree with Antony Oliver that engineers and environmentalists should see themselves as allies, not adversaries (NCE 20 January).

After all, many of us are committed members of both camps.

The sad fact is that you need look no further than John Thornton's outburst of antienvironmental name calling in the previous issue of NCE to realise why environmental campaigners do not trust our profession.

Anybody wishing to campaign on behalf of an environmental organisation needs a thick skin and limitless patience. You will be patronised by engineers and councillors, and attacked in the press. You will face obstructions at every turn, and you can expect the carefully researched and argued submissions to be dismissively tossed into a file, never to see the light of day again. I speak from experience.

Since the 'New Deal for Transport' was published in 1998 little has changed. We are building the same schemes that were shelved 10 years ago.

Lip service has been paid to other forms of transport, but commitment is begrudged, and too often the results are barely usable.

Carrying on as though nothing is wrong will not solve any of our 'environmental' problems, whether they are global issues of climate change, or local ones such as enabling your children to cycle to school in safety.

Alasdair Massie.senior engineer and former Cyclists' Touring Club Right to Ride representative,

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