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Civil engineering in the news today - Thursday 18 December 2008

A new runway could be built at Gatwick rather than Heathrow or Stansted under plans secretly being developed by companies bidding to buy Britain's second largest airport...

...The Times has learnt that BAA has sent bidders a confidential memorandum with a section entitled "Gatwick builds a second runway" - The Times

BAA has raised the possibility of a second runway being built at Gatwick in a memorandum issued to potential purchasers of the airport. The runway, however could be built only if plans for expanding Heathrow and Stansted fall through – The Daily Telegraph

BAA yesterday vowed to fight the UK competition watchdog over its plan to make the embattled owner of Heathrow sell Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports to break its dominance of the industry in Britain. Joaquin Ayuso, chief executive of Ferrovial, the Spanish construction and infrastructure group that majority owns BAA, said the UK company would use "all available mechanisms at its disposal" to protect its position - The Financial Times

More than four in 10 people who live in areas vulnerable to flooding are unaware of the risk they face, says research from the Environment Agency. About 5M people now live in such areas, but only 9% of them have sought advice on staying safe in a flood - The Financial Times

National Express, the bus and train operator, plans to cut as many as 750 jobs, or about 5% of its UK workforce, after a recent decline in business that has fuelled concern about its outlook for the new year - The Times

Cambridge University's research is the best in Britain, a closely watched analysis of today's government funded Research Assessment Exercise of UK higher education suggests. The finding - based on a "Grade Point Average" league table compiled by the Press Association - will boost Cambridge's prestige compared with its rivals, making it even more attractive to bright students and picky employers - The Financial Times

The attorney general is considering asking the courts to clamp down on high-profile, direct-action protests on issues such as climate change, the Guardian can exclusively reveal. Six Greenpeace protesters, who were acquitted in September, of criminal damage for their demonstration at the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent, now face having their case referred to the court of appeak in what is believed to be an attempt to increase convictions for direct-action protests - The Guardian

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