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Civil engineering in the news - Friday 24th September

Drax Group, the owner of Britain's most carbon-intensive power station, is turning green with a £2bn plan to build the country's first large-scale biomass plants which burn plant-based materials...

...The three facilities in Hull, Immingham and probably the North Yorkshire village of Drax itself, will have the capacity to produce 900 megawatts of electricity - enough to supply 3% of the country's total needs - but environmental groups warned that Drax must ensure the crop fuel is sustainable - The Guardian

One of China's biggest companies will today become the first state-controlled business in the country to join an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The powerful Climate Group will announce three Chinese members; the majority state-owned China Mobile, Suntech, the world's third largest solar energy supplier and privately owned Broad Air Conditioning, the leading manufacturer of non-electric air conditioning units - The Guardian

Tory plans to replace a third runway at Heathrow airport with a high-speed rail line were dealt a blow yesterday after a government adviser said passenger demand for 180mph train journeys might be too low. Robert Cochrane, an adviser to the Department for Transport on long-distance travel, said Britain could not assume the success of high-speed rail networks in Europe would be replicated here - The Guardian

Skills Secretary John Denham waded into a row on foreign labour being hired for big infrastructure projects today by promising that £98m will be targeted at nuclear power and other sectors to ensure local workers are not disadvantaged. The move comes amid a row between unions and construction firms after two Spanish contractors started to use foreign staff to build a £600M gas-fired power station for RWE in Nottinghamshire at a time of mounting unemployment in the area - The Guardian

The 2012 Olympics budget is £500 million short of private sector money because of the credit crunch, the government has admitted. Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, has publicly conceded the extent of the damage so far - The Times

Thousands of workers at JCB's British assembly plants have voted in taking a £50 a week pay cut to prevent 350 staff losing their jobs. More than 4,000 employees will now work 34-hour four day week as the maker of the yellow diggers and other machinery faces up to the harsh realities of the economic slowdown - The Times

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