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ice ice north east and The Great Debate present
ice breaking dialogues

The ice breaking dialogues are a series of public debates about current issues jointly organised by The Great Debate and Institution of Civil Engineers. We aim to facilitate lively accesssible discussions involving engineers and a general audience.

The ice breaking dialogues are currently on hold due to Covid-19 but we hope to be back with you soon.

Caspar Hewett introducing the first ice breaking dialogue in February 2017

Previous ice breaking dialogues
Climate Change Adaption vs Mitigation Feb 2020
What a Waste? Acting Locally for Sustainability March 2019
Brexit - Opportunity or Catastrophe for the North East? June 2018
HS2: A White Elephant for the North East? Feb 2018
Education: Who Should Pay? Oct 2017
Flooding: Who Pays? May 2017
Devolution: is it all just smoke and mirrors? Feb 2017

Climate Change Adaption vs Mitigation
5:45pm, Tuesday, 18th February 2020
Teesside University

At a time of massive and rapid changes in technology and tighter fiscal boundaries how will engineers need to position themselves to deliver key infrastructure? What skills will engineers need? In a world of financial constraints, we all need to manage our money effectively. Given that a Climate Emergency has been declared and the uncertainties associated with that, how do we allocate time, talent and money? Do we mitigate (reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases) or adapt (minimise the effects of climate change)? Are there other options? Do engineers, or anyone else, fully understand the climate change adaptation?

Climate Change believers, sceptics, engineers, non-engineers, students and educators of all disciplines are invited to contribute to the discussion, or simply to hear thought-provoking contributions to this important debate.

Come along, hear the arguments and have your say!

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

17:45 refreshments and registration, 18:15 start
Tickets are FREE FOR ALL

What a Waste? Acting Locally for Sustainability
6pm, Thursday, 14th March 2019
Royal Station Hotel
Neville Street
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5DH

The idea that we should "Think Globally, Act Locally" has been a powerful and popular one for decades, in particular with reference to environmental problems, providing the backdrop for much of the thinking underpinning sustainable development. But how realistic is this approach? For example, is there any point in recycling in the North East when there are many countries in the world who are not recycling at all? Does it make a difference? This debate will explore these questions with specific reference to the recycling of both domestic waste and the waste produced by the construction industry.

Come along, hear the arguments and have your say!

Andrew Griffiths, Nestlé
Adrian Johnson, Stantec
Dr Catherine Lyons, Newcastle City Council

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Andrew Griffiths
Andrew is Head of Value Chain, Sustainability, Nestlé UK, responsible for the development and delivery of the Environmental Sustainability strategy both within the operation and across the value chain. He has worked for Nestlé UK for over 20 years, originally in operational and engineering roles. He is both a chartered environmentalist and a chartered engineer & is focussed on bringing together the engineering expertise, operational experience & environmental insights of the organisation alongside collaborative partnerships with academia & key delivery partners to develop and implement robust and effective sustainability programmes.

Adrian Johnson
Adrian is Technical Director, Stantec. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and ICE Fellow with 26 years' professional experience, specialising in sustainable development. He has supported various water company capital delivery programmes has led research and pilot studies on topics such as carbon accounting, sustainable water systems, catchment thinking, resource efficiency, climate change and resilience. Recently, Adrian has been working in eight2O, Thames Water’s capital delivery alliance, implementing a comprehensive carbon management and sustainability strategy. He is currently Innovation Lead for the m2 JV, a framework consultant working for Scottish Water.

Dr Catherine Lyons
Catherine is Principal Adviser on Waste Strategy for Newcastle City Council. She provides policy input along with professional and expert advice on all aspects of Waste Strategy including strategic planning and services for Newcastle upon Tyne and the wider region. This includes the development of a new Newcastle Waste Strategy which responds to the report from the Newcastle Waste Commission, the national Environment Plan, and the Resources & Waste Strategy.

Brexit - Opportunity or Catastrophe for the North East?
6pm, Thursday, 14th June 2018
Mining Institute
Neville Hall
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE

Over a year into the Brexit negotiations heated arguments still rage about what Brexit will mean for the people of the UK. Competing claims about how we should view Brexit and what we can expect over the next few years fill the news and social media. Some see exciting opportunities for increased wealth and freedom while others are sure that great hardship is on its way. So, who is right? Will we be better or worse off? Will it mean more or less investment in infrastructure and construction? What will be the impact on industry and business? What can we expect in the first few years and in the long term? What can we do to make sure that the people of the North East get a good deal?
Click here for further details.

Jon Bryan, Sociologist and Treasurer, The Great Debate
Ben Carpenter Merritt, EEF
David Hardman, North East for Europe
Graham Robb, Recognition PR and Entrepreneurs’ Forum

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

18:00 buffet and registration, 18:30 start
20:00 drink following event in the bar
Tickets £3 (includes buffet and drink), FREE for students

Ben Carpenter Merritt
Ben Carpenter Merritt is Regional Affairs Manager at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, a role that involves heading EEF’s policy and external affairs programme in the North East, working to raise the profile and influence of EEF and its members by driving engagement with policy makers, regional decision making bodies and the media. Prior to joining EEF, Ben worked in Public Affairs at FleishmanHillard in Brussels.

David Hardman
David Hardman is design director of Outline, a Newcastle design agency he set up over 25 years ago. He had been a lecturer at Northumbria University and has sat on a variety of boards in the region. He has been a Newcastle City Councillor and has spent over 30 years actively engaged in politics in his local community. He is a committee member of North East for Europe, an organisation that campaigns for the UK to remain a full member of the European Union.

Graham Robb
Graham Robb is one of the North’s most ‘plugged-in’ business figures. He is vice-chair of the Entrepreneurs' Forum, a board member of the Tees Valley LEP, a board member of the South Tees Development Corporation and served a three year term as Chairman of the Institute of Directors in the North. Graham owns a number of influential networking products in the Northern Region including the two Shadow MPCs in Yorkshire and the North East and the large and dynamic North East Business Network – with nearly 10,000 members.

Opinion formers, decision makers and business leaders listen to Graham. His advice has often helped organisations to enhance the reputation of their products, services or people and, in many instances, offset issues presented in hostile media situations and engaged in successful damage limitation. Graham also frequently features in the media, with contributions on radio and TV and regular columns and opinion pieces in newspapers. He was a strong advocate of ‘Remain’ but has shifted his view in the period since the vote as a result of the economic statistics not reflecting the scenario depicted by the remain side in the referendum.

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HS2: A White Elephant for the North East?
22nd February 2018
Mining Institute
Neville Hall
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE

Will HS2 bring the increased capacity to the North East that is claimed? Will we see a better service to London? Or could this infrastructure money be better spent? Is this just another white elephant?

Jenny Cooke,Network Rail, and Mark Northumbria University
Mark Wilson, Head of Transport, Tees Valley Combined Authority;

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Education: Who Should Pay?
12th October 2017
Mining Institute
Neville Hall
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE

What is the right balance between publicly and privately funded university education? Some argue that society benefits from an educated population, especially in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and that the cost of education should thus be borne by the tax-payer. Others argue that it is individuals who benefit most and that students should be expected to pay for their education. In 30 years the UK has shifted from a system in which students received maintenance grants and paid no fees to one in which students are expected to take out loans to cover maintenance and tuition fees. Which is better? How should university education be paid for? Should individuals pay for their own education? Or should the state pay? Does the current policy fail poorer students, restricting access to Higher Education? Is there a better way to pay?

Bradley Reid, Northumbria University
Nicky Turnbull, Newcastle College;
Mo Parkin, Ryder Architecture and PlanBEE;

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Bradley Reid
Bradley Reid is a student at Northumbria University studying for MEng in Civil Engineering. He has just started his 4th of 5 years. He spent the last year on an Industrial Placement with Cundall as part of the course. He is the Northumbria Branch representative for the ICE Graduates and Students Committee, and the GSNet representative, speaking for the committee on a national level.

Nicky Turnbull
Nicky Turnbull is Head of Higher Education at Newcastle College. Having graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic, Nicky gained a Diploma in Management Studies, qualified as a teacher of Post 16 Education & then completed a PGDip in Sociology. Having taught for 9 years, she then went into education management at Newcastle College & completed an MA in Lifelong Learning in 2012. She is about to embark on an Education Doctorate at Newcastle University. As a former Director of Construction, she is now responsible for Higher Education at the college where widening participation is a strategic driver & all HE students study highly vocational programmes which aim to make them work-ready.

Morwenna Parkin
Morwenna Parkin is a designer at Ryder Architecture. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a Masters in Architectural Engineering. Previously she worked as an Assistant Site Engineer on Leeds Arena, Bradford College and the Rolls Royce factory in Sheffield. She spent a year in Nebraska studying Architectural Engineering with a focus on structural design and building services. Morwenna has travelled across America and Europe to widen her appreciation of structures and was shortlisted for the ICE Quest Scholarship. Outside of work she enjoys dancing, art and swimming.

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Flooding: Who Pays?
6:00pm, Thursday 25th May 2017
Mining Institute
Neville Hall
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE

Do we have to accept and live with the threat of flooding? Should we build in areas prone to flooding? How can we be protected and who is responsible for that protection? Who pays?

We invite anyone interested to discuss the threats, solutions and impacts of flooding to North East homes, businesses, people and infrastructure. Come and join the discussion

Professor Louise Bracken, Durham University
David Hirst, Ainsty Risk Consulting Ltd
Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Professor Louise Bracken
Louise Bracken is the Executive Director of IHRR at Durham University and the Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk Research. Louise’s research expertise lies in the area of water resource management, including flooding, and she is the world’s leading expert investigating the pathways that runoff and sediment take through drainage basins (known as ‘hydrological connectivity’). She is also an expert in participatory approaches and transdisciplinary research and has written guidance for RCUK on these approaches to research. Louise works closely with policy and practice; she led an All Parliamentary Briefing in Water management (May 2016) and was the invited Chair for the 4th Annual UK Resilience Conference. Louise is currently involved in two major research projects funded by the EU (Co-I on Naturvation (€7.8M) and partner on TOPSOIL (€7.3M)). She has previously been awarded over £1M in research funding from ESRC, DEFRA and Biodiversity Action Fund. Louise publishes her research in a range of top journals in Human Geography, Anthropology, Environmental Sciences, Hydrology and Geomorphology and has published over 60 articles with more than 1200 ISI citations. She currently supervises 3 PDRAs and 11 postgraduate students. Louise is a member of the Wear Catchment Partnership and works closely with the Wear Rivers Trust, Northumbrian Water and EA.

David Hirst
David Hirst is the founder and managing director of Ainsty Risk Consulting. He provides energy and risk management advisory services. David is a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Energy Manager, and a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Energy Institute. David is
• Chairman of the ICE Regional Advisory Board in Yorkshire and the Humber
• Chair of the joint ICE/CICES management Panel, and
• Chair of the joint ICE / Institute and Faculty of Actuaries risk expert group.
David was on the steering group for the 2009 State of the Nation Defending Critical Infrastructure which highlighted the fundamental goal of defending critical infrastructure is to provide assurance the continuation of our way of life and of the nation itself. As Head of Strategic and operational risk for RWE npower David was also responsible for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, across their portfolio of generation assets and offices serving their retail business. David has significant experience of managing the risks of strategic, operational and regulatory change. This has included;
• 13 years in RWE npower responsible for market and credit risk, compliance and trading as head of strategic / operational risks
• 5 yrs as Director supporting Ernst & Young as Energy and Regulation subject matter expert, and
• 6 yrs independent consultant working alongside international utilities, independent producers and retailers. His consultancy, Ainsty Risk are an independent consultancy who work with private and public sector clients helping businesses manage their energy risks & regulatory exposure. Services include;
• Energy Trading Regulatory Compliance
• Energy use procurement and management
• Independent Quantified Risk Assessments of capital projects (from concept to commissioning)

Richard Warneford
Richard Warneford is a water industry professional with more than 25 years of experience covering water and waste water operations, project management, engineering and commercial activity. As Waste Water Director he leads Northumbrian Water’s waste water operations including field customer service, networks, treatment works and sludge operations. Richard also leads the Company's new development activity for both water and waste water services, also chairing the national Infrastructure Policy Group. In addition to the operationally focused work Richard also heads up Northumbrian Water's Employee Relations Framework. Richard is a Board Member of UK Water Industry Research and is keen on partnering and collaborating with Regulators and Stakeholders alike. Richard is a Chartered Civil Engineer and is also a member of the Northern Advisory Board of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Richard is a keen WaterAid supporter and visited Zambia with industry and WaterAid colleagues in 2013.

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Devolution: is it all just smoke and mirrors?
6:30pm, Thursday 23rd February 2017
Mining Institute
Neville Hall
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE

The relocation of power away from the centre has major implications for society. Will the government's devolution agenda benefit the North East? Will it enable us to secure much needed investment in our infrastructure? Should we embrace or resist it? We invite anyone interested to discuss the policy changes needed to ensure that devolution works for people, the economy and the environment of the North East.

Professor Andy Pike, Director of CURDS, Newcastle University
Andrew Lewis, Tees Valley combined authority

Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Video: short statements by speakers and chair

Professor Andy Pike
Andy Pike is Henry Daysh Professor of Regional Development Studies and Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University. His research focuses on the geographical political economy of local and regional development and policy. He has undertaken research projects for the OECD, United Nations-International Labour Organisation (UN-ILO), European Commission, UK Government and national, regional and local institutions. Andy is part of the inter-disciplinary research centre IBuild (Infrastructure Business models, valuation and innovation for local delivery), which develops new business models to improve the delivery of infrastructure systems and the services they provide. He is a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Andrew Lewis
Andrew Lewis took up the role as first Managing Director of the new Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and Local Enterprise Partnership in July 2016, to secure economic growth, jobs and new investment for the Tees Valley: an area of over 650,000 people. He is responsible for a £500 million programme of investment, with new powers and responsibilities devolved from central government. He is an Executive Board Member of Transport for the North, and participates in a number of national and regional initiatives in support of local economic development and devolution. Before joining TVCA, Andrew was Assistant Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council from 2010-2016:, was Director of the Northern Way from 2007-2010 and was Deputy Regional Director for the Government Office for the North East from 2004-2007. Before that 1991-2004 he was a senior economist in HM Treasury for 13 years.


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