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Civil Engineering in the papers - Thursday 29 January 2009

The Conservatives said yesterday that they were willing to expand airport capacity in the South East despite the party's environmental opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. . . . .

Luton, City Airport or Southend could be allowed increased numbers of flights or an extra runway under the Tories, even though they argued against Heathrow's expansion on the grounds that it could jeopardise the target of cutting carbon dioxide emmissions by 80 per cent by 2050 - The Times

A noxious tide of toilet paper, raw sewage and chemical waste has transformed Dubai's most prestigious stretch of shore-line into a foul-smelling health hazard. The debate over who is to blame is also turning toxic, pitting the city's wealthy expatriates against local authorities, who have been criticised for failing to stop lorry drivers dumping human and industrial waste into the ocean - The Times

Plankton fed with iron will absorb carbon dioxide to prevent it acting as a greenhouse gas, scientists have shown. Measurements taken in the Southern Ocean confirmed that so-called iron fertilisation would help plankton to grow and thus take in more carbon - The Times

The government last night narrowly survived the first parliamentary test of its decision to expand Heathrow airport, as the opposition's momentum was undermined by an admission from the Conservatives that they did not rule out expanding airports in the south-east. Plans to build a third runway at Heathrow have been fiercely opposed by a coalitionof environmentalists, opposition politicians, and, at one point, as many as 57 Labour MPs concerned at the electoral consequences for their West London constituencies and the effects aviation expansion would have on the government's carbon emission reduction targets - The Guardian

The Conservatives were on the back foot last night after losing a Commons vote on the expansion of Heathrow and admitting they were open to further airport expansion in the south east. Labour whips and Gordon Brown himself pulled out all the stops to kill off a backbench uprising over the proposed third runway by 297 votes to 278 - Financial Times

An artist whose giant inflatable sculpture Dreamspace tipped up killing two people saw another of his creations cause injury to visitors 20 years earlier, a court heard. Neverthless, Maurice Agis did not follow his own safety rule that Dreamspace had to be anchored by at least 40 metal stakes, and continued to allow visitors to enter it despite concerns being raised by several members of his own staff, the court was told. The multi-coloured structure became airborne while packed with visitors at the Riverside Park in Chester le Street, County Durham, on July 23 2006. People inside the structure when it took off were thrown out as it flipped over and two, Elizabeth Collings, 68, and Clare Furmedge, 38, were killed. At the opening of his trial at Newcastle Crown Court for manslaughter and breaching health and safety laws, prosecutor Paul Sloan QC told jurors that Agis, 77, was "well aware" of the dangers that strong gusts of wind posed. He said another structure he designed, Colourspace, had taken off in strong winds during a tour of north Germany 20 years earlier, causing injury to several people - The Daily Telegraph

Recycling could be adding to global warming rather than reducing it, a key government adviser on waste management has said. Peter Jones suggested that an "urgent" review of Labour's policy on recycling was needed to make sure the collection, transportation and processing of recyclable material was not causing a net increase in greenhouse gases. Mr Jones, a former director of the waste firm Biffa and now an adviser to environment ministers and the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, also dismissed kerbside recycling collections in many areas as "stupid" because they mixed together different materials, rendering them useless for recycling - The Daily Telegraph


A £2 energy-saving lightbulb that lasts for 60 years has been developed by scientists at Cambridge University. The researchers have designed a bulb that is three times more energy efficient than today's best offer and can cut lighting bills by 75 per cent. The bulbs are made using Gallium Nitride (GaN), a man-made substance used in LEDs (light emitting diodes) - The Daily Telegraph

Corus is close to agreeing a deal to sell a majority stake in a large steel plant on Teesside for about £450M, securing about 2,000 jobs at the site. The deal should provide more breathing space for the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker as it attempts to implement a difficult restructuring programme - Financial Times

The House of Representatives last night approved its version of the proposed US fiscal stimulus with overwhelming Democratic support but, in an early setback for Barack Obama, not a single Republican backed the $825M plan. The president has spent much of his first week in office reaching out to Republicans in a bid to forge a bipartisan concensus behind the stimulus but the House vote indicated that opposition is hardening - Financial Times

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