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Climate change fears to trigger infrastructure spend

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UK CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown has come under pressure to include major infrastructure schemes aimed at limiting climate change and its effects in this year's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Industry leaders said they hoped the publication of the Stern report on climate change would force him to spend more on flood protection projects and new nuclear power stations.

They said the report was a 'wake up call' to the government to ramp up spending on infrastructure.

Sir Nicholas Stern's report called for the equivalent of 1% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) be spent on tackling climate change now to avoid a longer term bill as much as 20 times higher.

Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young said the report underlined the need for higher spending on ood protection in this year's Review.

'We need to spend ú1bn a year on ood protection schemes at the next review rather than the ú500M we are currently getting, ' she said.

Young added that extra cash was also needed for a more sustainable water supply and to upgrade a sewerage system that would be put under intolerable pressure by an increase in storm flooding.

Nuclear experts claimed that Stern also argues for accelerated spending on a new generation of nuclear power stations. This was because no other energy spending could deliver such a big cut in carbon emissions.

'It's effectively an endorsement of nuclear new build, ' said nuclear industry consultant John Large.

ICE president Gordon Masterton added the report would put further pressure on congestion busting. 'It will bring a national road user charging scheme right up the political agenda, ' he said.

The Treasury agreed that the report would speed up spending on new infrastructure.

'The need for more infrastructure to deal with emissions is clear, as is the case for new technologies to lower emissions, ' said a spokesman.

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