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Civil engineering in the news today - Friday 17 April 2009

Next week’s budget will be the last chance for the government to kick-start the investment needed to meet the UK’s targets for carbon emission cuts and to establish a sustainable low-carbon economy, the Conservatives claimed yesterday…

…In a speech to launch their party’s green budget, the shadow chancellor, George Osbourne, and the shadow energy secretary, Greg Clark, called on the government to invest in 10 ideas that they said would help cut carbon emissions and create thousands of new “green” jobs - The Guardian

Despite ongoing questions about funding, there was welcome good news for London 2012 organisers yesterday as construction began a month early on the last major venue at the Olympic site. The Olympic Delivery Authority said its “big build” was ahead of schedule after work began on the foundations of the international broadcast centre and main press centre, which will house 20,000 broadcasters, journalists and photographers - The Guardian

Australia’s biggest river is running so low that Adelaide, the country’s fifth-largest city, could run out of water in the next two years. The Murray river is part of a network of waterways that irrigates the south-eastern corner of Australia, but after six years of severe drought, the worst dry spell ever, its slow moving waters are now almost stagnant - The Guardian

The government should abandon its much criticised road-pricing policy and invest its £1bn congestion charge fund in bus, tram and cycling projects instead, a report said today. The Centre for Cities thinktank is calling on the government to drop its insistence that any local authority bidding for the £1bn transport innovation fund (TIF) must attach a road-pricing scheme to its proposals - The Guardian#

Alistair Darling should bring forward more capital spending in next week’s Budget and focus it on the sort of small-scale projects that councils can start immediately in order to create jobs, the Local Government Association said on Thursday. In a pre-Budget statement it called for £100M to give town centres experiencing shop closures a “facelift”, restoring local buildings and monuments and improving safety. That would create or safeguard 60,000 jobs, the association said - Financial Times

Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, is trying to remain on top of aggressive Chinese competitors by localising and customising its products for use in the region. Although the Copenhagen-listed company has seen its world market share slide amid an explosive growth in the Chinese market, where domestic competitors take more than 75% of orders for new capacity, Ditlev Engel, chief executive, insisted on Thursday that he would not compete on price - Financial Times

The last hopes of any British company being involved in building a new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK rest on whether the French state-owned energy group EDF can agree to buy a stake in a large Belgium utility. Centrica, owner of British Gas, has been in negotiations with EDF for almost four months about buying a 25% stake in British Energy, the nuclear generator bought last autumn by the French group - The Guardian

The recession has battered Britain’s most prestigious landlord, sending the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor property company plunging heavily into the red. Grosvenor, which traces its roots back to the 17th century, said yesterday it made a loss of £594M last year, compared with a profit of £524M in 2007 - The Guardian

The longest guided busway in the world was unveiled in Cambridge yesterday. Passengers were given the first chance to board the eco-friendly buses, which will travel along a 16 mile track - The Daily Telegraph

Cross-Channel traffic has resumed after French fishermen lifted their blockade, but there are fears of further disruption. Their decision came the day after a court in Boulogne threatened fines if fishermen continued their protest against EU quotas and as the Frend government offered extra financial support - The Daily Telegraph

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