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Viewpoint: Cross-border appeal

Chairman Gordon Pomphrey reflects on the long history of ICE Scotland as they await a different election

Well, the Election is out of the way and civil engineers will now be hoping for a more enlightened approach to infrastructure from the new Government.

However, in Scotland, the Holyrood Parliament actually has almost complete control over policy and investment in infrastructure rather than Westminster.

UK fiscal and monetary policies have an equal effect on us all, but the role of the UK’s Chief Construction Adviser has only a very limited remit in Scotland and the Infrastructure Planning Commission no remit at all.

ICE Scotland is working with other bodies in the construction and built environment fields to influence both the media and policymakers on infrastructure investment decisions and the many, often conflicting, policies that lead to these.

ICE Scotland is working with other bodies in the construction and built environment fields.

Until recently, ICE in Scotland had two separate regions. The Glasgow and West of Scotland region traces its origins in the first local ICE association outside of London, in 1884.

The East of Scotland region is the other, a long established region incorporating the Edinburgh and Dundee area branches and the Aberdeen Association.

Two proud regions and traditions, but with a single support team - 8,000 Scottish members, 10 civil engineering universities, a Scottish Parliament and a vigorous Scottish media.

It became clear to active members that a change was required if the Institution was to be an eff ective public voice for infrastructure in Scotland.

An overwhelming member vote in favour of a single region at the start of 2009 has delivered a single ICE Scotland Committee, five strong branches and a healthy number of special interest groups for areas such as transport, hydraulics, geotechnics and municipal engineering.

Popularity

ICE Scotland has one of the largest memberships of all the ICE regions and covers the largest geographical area.

More importantly, the change has given ICE in Scotland the capacity to focus more clearly on promoting the profession and in taking a more active role with politicians and the media, on issues that our members’ experience and expertise can and should influence.

Our members have contributed to the various ICE State of the Nation reports in recent years.

But ICE Scotland is now working hard to produce its own material, directly relevant to the different laws and rules that apply in Scotland and the very different demographics that have such a big eff ect on its infrastructure needs.

Scotland’s population is 8% of the UK’s, in 32% of its area and that makes communications, transport, energy and water supply vital issues for ICE Scotland and its members.

So, the General Election is over, but for ICE Scotland the ‘real’ election is in May 2011 and that is where our focus in Scotland will now be directed.

● Gordon Pomphrey is ICE Scotland’s chairman

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