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Civil Engineering in the papers today - Tuesday 13 January 2008

An eleventh hour push to wring environmental guarantees from Gordon Brown over a third runway at Heathrow airport has been launched by a series of cabinet ministers who have grave concerns about the scheme...

The prime minister is planning to set out the case for having the runway at today's cabinet meeting, prompting speculation that Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, will make a formal announcement approving the runway on Thursday - The Guardian

Home wind turbines are generating a fraction of the energy promised by manufacturers, and in some cases use more electricity than they make, a report warns today. The results of what is thought to be the most comprehensive study undertaken of the industry show that the worst performers provided just 41 watt-hours a day - less than the energy needed for a conventional lightbulb for an hour, or even to power the turbine's electronics - The Guardian

Spain's sleek new high-speed trains have stolen hundreds of thousands of passengers from airlines over the last year, slashing carbon emissions and marking a radical change in the way Spaniards travel. Passenger numbers on fuel-guzzling domestic flights fell 20% in the year to November as commuters and tourists swapped cramped airline seats for the space and convenience of the train, according to figures released yesterday - The Guardian

JCB is to cut almost 700 jobs, blaming a lack of credit from the banks. The construction equipment group said yesterday the upturn in orders it had been expecting "shows no sign of materialising" - The Guardian

Campaigners opposed to a third runway at Heathrow have bought a parcel of land earmarked for the airport's expansion and are preparing a fierce legal battle to defend it. The government is expected to approve the new runway this week, along with a sixth terminal - although there was speculation that night that a decision could be delayed after Gordon Brown agreed to meet Labour backbenchers opposed to the project - The Times

Wind turbines on town houses, such as David Cameron has installed, generate small amounts of electricity, the first widespread study into the new technology claims. Rising electricity costs and concern over climate change have led thousands of people to install wind turbines, including the leader of the Conservative party at his home in West London - The Daily Telegraph

A market worth more than £50bn will be created for new wind, wave and tidal power equipment in British waters by 2020, the head of the new government-backed energy research and development group has said. David Clarke, chief executive of the Energy Technologies Institute, will on Tuesday launch the first four projects backed by the group, which aims to encourage the commercial development of low-carbon energy sources including renewables, electric vehicles and power stations that capture and store carbon dioxide emissions - The Financial Times

Staff at Galliford Try's struggling housebuilding business have been put on a four-day week to save cash and avoid additional job cuts. The construction group, which also warned it expected to halve its interim dividend, has cut 340 workers in its housebuilding business over the past 12 months, or 43% of the division, as the property market crumbles - The Financial Times

JCB warned that its sales could fall a further 25 per cent this year, on top of a decline of about 20 per cent in 2008, while also announcing a further 684 redundancies in its UK workforce. The extent of the slide in demand affecting Britain's biggest construction equipment-maker is another reminder that the pace of the downturn in manufacturing shows no signs of slackening - The Financial Times

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