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Civil engineering in the news today - Friday 31 October

Britain's stricken building industry has virtually ground to a halt with £3.2bn worth of work shelved in the past fortnight...

Alarming figures show £500M of private housing projects have been stopped in the past week alone. Allan Wilen, of market intelligence firm Emap Glenigan which monitors building data, said: "The speed and pace of decline is breathtaking. The industry is facing its biggest challenge in a generation. Growth has come to a juddering halt and some projects on hold are likely to remain so indefinitely." - The Daily Mirror

Three in five people believe airport expansion should be limited to protect the local environment, says a government survey. In south-east England, only 30% of those polled said they would support the expansion of their nearest airport, with 40% opposed, the Department for Transport survey said - The Financial Times

Iron ore miners face the prospect of the first price cut in seven years as steel production in China and elsewhere plunges amid the global downturn. After an informal meeting last week at a conference in the Chinese city of Quingdao, traders and bankers said a cut of 10-20% was a likely outcome of the formal negotiations, due to begin in November, for annual contracts - The Financial Times

England's biggest programme to handle catastrophes from terrorist attacks to widespread flooding is in danger of going awry because of sloppy management and woeful financial management, Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, warns today. The £330M programme, run by the Fire and Rescue Service, was set up two days after the 9/11 attack on New York's twin towers - The Guardian

Stately homes and ancient barns may creak and leak, but their locally sourced, sustainable technology is praised in a report published yesterday as a model for tackling climate change. Traditional coppicing and a device to supply power to the entire Yorkshire Dales village of Grassington are leading a return to green values by English Heritage, the National Trust and other guardians of the past - The Guardian

The prospect of households with wind turbines and solar panels being able to sell power back to the national grid has come a step closer after the government tabled an amendment to a bill that would allow people to generate enough power to serve a community of more than 1,000 people. The government said 10 days ago it was keen to get the proposal into the energy bill after facing down opposition from power companies concerned that allowing individuals and communities the chance to profit from energy creation significantly altered the market - The Guardian

Dozens of people, including a mother in labour, had to be rescued after a freak hailstorm left a Devon town cut off by floodwater. More than a foot of hail fell on Ottery St Mary, near Honiton, early yesterday morning - The Times

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