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Civil Engineering in the papers today - Monday 6th October 2008

Dubai, emirate of extravagance and superlatives, laid claim to an extraordinary new record yesterday with a multibillion dollar plan to build the world's tallest tower in the face of deepening global financial gloom. . . .

The tower, at the centre of the Nakheel port and harbour complex, is to be "over one kilometre" high and have more than 200 floors, beating its nearest rival, the existing Burj Dubai tower, still under construction and due to rise to a mere 818 metres - The Guardian

Homes and businesses were flooded yet again in England and Wales yesterday as torrential rain caused rivers and streams that were still full after the soggy summer to overflow. Though some area of Britain escaped the latest deluge, notably the north-east, where those taking part in the Great North Run enjoyed clear skies, in other driving rain left householders mopping out and caused chaos on roads - The Guardian

The number of new homes being built will drop below 100,000 next year as construction suffers a record decline. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports today that building by private firms dropped dramatically in the three months to September – The Daily Telegraph

Householders are facing dramatic rises in their water bills as the Government looks to cut consumption. Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, is calling for compulsory metering and price rises in a effort to drive water consumption down by a fifth. He says that the average current daily consumption of 150 litres is unsustainable and should be reduced to 120 litres per person by 2030 – The Daily Telegraph

Plans to construct what could become the world’s tallest building at more than 3,280ft, were unveiled yesterday. The Dubai developer Nakheel the company that created manmade islands in the shapes of a palm tree and the world – said the structure would be the centre-piece of an iner-city harbour planned as the emirate’s unofficial capital. It would not comment on the exact height or cost of the Islamic design-inspired Nakheel Tower. The building will have "more than 200 floors" and be part of "a multi billion pound development", the company said – The Daily Telegraph

The Tories have hit back at British Airways' chief executive Willie Walsh and accused him of "spinning the figures" over the number of Heathrow flights that could be displaced by high-speed rail links. Mr Walsh lambasted the Conservative Party last week after it said it would ditch plans to build a third runway at Heathrow in favour of a £20bn spend on high-speed rail links. He claimed the Tories were "all over the place on aviation", adding: "The latest idea that a rail link from Leeds and Manchester to Heathrow would be an adequate substitute for a third runway beggars belief." – The Daily Telegraph

The green agenda is at risk of being sidelined by the credit crisis, in spite of attempts to keep issues alive in the commercial property industry. The environmental impact of commercial property is undeniable, with about half of all Britain’s carbon emissions associated with buildings, according to government figures. Corporate property is thought to be responsible for as much as a fifth of global CO2 emissions, through energy use waste and water production – The Financial Times

In an age of rapidly rising fuel bills the discovery of vast supplies of free hot water sounds too good to be true. But that is exactly what one Dutch city has found to run the radiators of hundreds of homes, shops and offices. Heerlen, in the southern province of Limburg has created the first geothermal power station in the world using water heated naturally in the deepshafts of old coalmines – which once provided the southern Netherlands with thousands of jobs but have been dormant since the 1970’s – The Times

Torrential downpours and an increased risk of flooding are forecast for the coming week and the Environment Agency has issued flood warnings across the country. The agency issued 76 flood watches and 21 more serious flood warnings across Britain after heavy rainfall throughout the weekend – The Times

British companies are being forced to pay over four times more for their electricity this winter than competitors in France and in excess of 70 percent more than in Germany. This discrepancy will increase concerns that Britain’s crumbling power infrastructure is a growing threat to the country’s competitiveness and comes as Ofgem today announces its report into competition in the energy market. – The Times

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