Comment on: HS2: Payment may depend on BIM work
The evidence is that using BIM reduces free and fair competition from SME suppliers which drives up project costs. It would be "crazy" to use a building information system for a railway. BIM does not solve problems, people do. Better technical design and clearer communication can achieve far more than expensive computer modelling packages. Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk
Comment on: VIDEO | London's cycling vision
London have enormous potential for cycling and its great to see leaders start to appreciate the multitude of benefits. Back in 1996 I was responsible for the design of the London Cycle Network Phase 1 across Westminster. It was at a time when cycling in the city was viewed as a extreme sport or a dangerous mode of transport, which should be discouraged. Even though the changes were minimal, any removal of parking to make junctions safer was difficult. Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk
Comment on: U-Turn for the SuDS campaign bus?
Pitts recommendation's were correct and SABs was the correct approach for an industry which has to be forced to change. The irony is that SUDs is typically cheaper than unsustainable methods both in capital and maintenance. Loose talk about "huge cost implications" was never supported by evidence. The vast majority of new housing across the UK is schemes under 10 houses. The new proposals are a waste of time. As you suggest, the only element of hope is that the sewerage companies pass on the real costs of the surface water network to those connected and remove entirely the charges for those with SUDs. At the moment there is an unfair subsidy. That way SUDs can actually be sold as a benefit and increase the house price - just like a solar panel can reduce your electricity bill! Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk
Comment on: Airports set out revised expansion plans
It could be considered that locating critical infrastructure such as Gatwick Airport on land identified by the EA as at high risk of flooding is questionable. Any suggestion of another runway would need a comprehensive reform of the airports existing flood strategy and a serious investment in sustainable drainage infrastructure. David McMillan non-executive Director of Gatwick Airport Limited states in his report that "actual flooding was significantly more severe than expectations based on flood modelling work. This work should be redone urgently". He stated that "due to heavy rainfall" flood warnings from the EA were not "not seen or acted upon". He also states that "The surface water drainage system is designed to ensure no flooding in airside areas from rainfall delivered by a 1 in 5 year storm." Such systems would not comply even to the building regulations for a domestic dwelling. However, the weather records indicate that rainfalls at Gatwick were far from exceptional, with only 19mm on the 24 Dec 2014. Gatwick Airport's climate change adaption report sums the major flooding and infrastructure problem up as "flooding and water management were identified as the biggest risks to our business". That's certainly correct.
The Government needs to redirect spending from expensive EA schemes in to smaller local community led projects, where greater flood reduction value can be achieved, even with lower budgets. Those EA engineers who have valuable engineering skills could then find even more rewarding opportunities in helping to deliver these sustainability projects with small local private consultants. A massive cut in spending to the EA could transform the industry for the better.