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What price, freedom?


Having just watched Jeremy Clarkson's excellent documentary on Brunel (part of the Great Britons series) it made me think about the NCE piece Municipal Engineers; a dying breed?

With some local authorities offering maximum salaries for principal engineers as low as £27,000, no wonder posts are not being filled and too few graduates are entering the profession.

After enthusing about Brunel's achievements, Clarkson hit the nail on the head when he asked 'What's gone wrong with civil engineering today? We don't pay them enough, and we don't respect them enough. And most of their projects are in the hands of accountants'.

Brunel had brilliant ideas and the drive to make them happen, but he also had the habit of working up to a standard rather than always down to a price.

Although he frequently went over budget, most of what he created has stood the test of time. That's what I call best value!

Perhaps we need to persuade our municipal employers to allow us to innovate more - and be better paid for it.

Paul Donnachie (M) 7 Lowther Road, Norwich NR4 6QN

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