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The good old days are gone - get over it and move on!

Leslie Dalby is being somewhat unfair in stating that the ICE disregarded formal recognition of municipal engineer's skills when the merger with IMunE took place.

I was actively involved with both institutions at the time. An Association of Municipal Engineers formed, but the chairman became an ICE vice-president and many municipal engineers became vice-presidents and presidents.

The real problem arose because local government started to become reorganised out of existence. Its main engineering functions were sewerage and sewage disposal, plus highway improvements and acting as the DOT's agents for trunk road schemes.

These two functions alone required a substantial engineering department, and it was usual to then add all other engineering or even associated tasks to that department, providing a satisfying work, and excellent training.

Reorganisation created water authorities and although initially agencies were established, eventually all work went back to the authorities. Similarly, much major highway work filtered back to the DoT, and the need for a strong engineering department had gone.

The good old days were great – but they ain't coming back again unless someone decides to reorganise it all once more.

DAVID ROGERS, 8, Blackthorne Close, Solihull, West Midlands B91 1PF

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