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Civil Engineering in the papers today - Wednesday 5 November 2008

The CBI yesterday gave warning that the relationship between businesses and their lenders has deteriorated sharply and that job losses will be acute this winter if the banks fail to lend. . . . .

The warning came amid heightened tensions over banks' lending and their apparent to supply enough credit to small businesses and to pass rate cuts on to borrowers - The Times

The government hit back at Boris Johnson in the London Underground funding row yesterday, warning that taxpayers will not plug a multibillion -pound funding gap in the tube. The London mayor has written to the chancellor, Alistair Darling, to demand a bail-out of the tube network, which is facing a cash shortfall of at least £1.4bn - The Guardian

BAA was yesterday accused by the competition watchdog of acting against the public interest at Stansted. The Competition Commission said yesterday that BAA had let down passengers and airlines on three fronts: security queues were managed inadequately, airlines had not been consulted properly over expansion plans and cargo aircraft had been overcharged - The Guardian

Only one of the 12 sites competing to become one of Gordon Brown's new ecotowns has so far been considered suitable by the government's green consultants. Scott Wilson, a design, planning and environmental consultancy, says 10 further sites might make the grade, with more work, but appears to rule out one of the most controversial contenders, in Oxfordshire, noting that only "substantial and exceptional innovation" would give that location any chance - The Guardian

Balfour Beatty's involvement in infrastructure projects has seen successful trading since June, the construction and engineering firm said yesterday. "The confirmed order book has increased further in the period, with the group's major markets continuing to provide significant new business opportunity," the company said in a trading statement for the period June 29 to November 3 - The Guardian

Hundreds of drivers are being recruited to take part in government funded road-pricing trials that could result in charges of up to £1.30 a mile on the most congested roads. The test runs will start early next year in four locations and will involve fitting a satellite-tracking device to the vehicles of volunteers - The Times

Gordon Brown's eco-town programme was in disarray last night with only one of 12 shortlisted sites meeting the Government's criteria. Rural campaigners and opposition parties demanded a halt to the scheme, which has enraged residents across the country - The Times

Fresh doubts were cast yesterday over the faltering eco-town initiative as ministers admitted that just one potential site for the 10 towns promised was "generally suitable" for such a development. The questions over the planning viability of the 12 remaining sites shortlisted adds to difficulties facing ministers as they press ahead with a big housebuilding programme while developers are staring at the worst housing collapse in decades – Financial Times

The timing of the £2.3bn project to build a second runway and terminal at Stansted airport has been thrown into turmoil by the competition watchdog, which questioned yesterday the urgency of expansion against a background of "deteriorating economic and financial conditions".
The Competition Commissions said it forecasts indicated that a second runway would not be needed until 2017 at the earliest-two years later than proposed by Stansted’s owner, BAA. Traffic volumes at the UK’s third largest airport have been falling for 11 months – Financial Times

The cross-London Crossrail project yesterday secured its first committed private sector financing when the owner of Heathrow airport announced it would put £230, towards the project’s £15.9bn cost. In return, the Department for Transport promised BAA the airport would be served by four trains an hour for most of the day on the route which will link Heathrow and Maidenhead in the west with Abbey Wood and Canary Wharf in the east – Financial Times

September ruled that Tube Lines, one of the contractors, would need £1.5bn more from London Underground than budgeted for the seven-and-a-half years from October 2010. There is also a continuing debate with the government over how to handle work on the parts of the system covered by Metronet Rail, which collapsed last year. Mr Ranger said talks with the government were at "a delicate stage" - Financial Times

German’s energy regulator is urging politicians to speed up the approval of infrastructure projects to ensure that the country can avoid a looming threat of power shortages. In an interview with the Financial Times, Matthias Kurth, president of the Bundesnetzagentur, said Germany must do "everything possible to get these things delivered in time" and ensure it was no longer "possible that it takes 10 years to roll out a grid" – Financial Times

Shares in China Railway Construction Corp fell 18 per cent in Hong Kong yesterday on news Nigeria had suspended its $8.3bn contract to modernise a north south line across the African nation. In a stock market filing, CRCC said Nigeria’s transport ministry had taken over control of work on the 1,315km line between southern Lagos city and northern Kano and would take about 90 days to "redefine" the scope of the contract – Financial Times


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