Cuts Watch #82: civil engineering
The Institution of Civil Engineers’ 2010 State of the Nation report warns that public spending cuts could harm the UK’s infrastructure.
The report, compiled each year by panels of civil engineers, looks at the current state and future prospects of transport, energy, water and sustainability.
Cuts in funding for the Highway Agency, the report warns, “would likely force the Highways Agency to move to inefficient reactive repairs rather than delivering better value planned preventative programmes. The result could also be a deterioration of the strategic highway network and cost much more to recover from in the long run.”
The state of the UK’s water and wastewater infrastructure is better than some other areas, but cuts could be harmful. On the one hand, “a cut in funding is more likely to hit operational and maintenance spending rather than capital investment.” But, on the other, “cuts may cause more sewer flooding and water pollution incidents and reduce customer service levels.”
On the brighter side, the Institution believes that civil engineering teaching at universities may not fare too badly, as “civil engineering is one of the subjects identified by government as supporting future economic growth and has received special support.” On the other hand, even though the government and the Higher Education Funding Council have “tried to protect” science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, “historically, such cuts have disproportionately affected expensive-to run science and engineering courses.”