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Daily News Update Thursday 27 March 2014: Crossrail extended to Reading

More good faith in transport infrastructure from the government today as it announces its intention to extend Crossrail beyond Maidenhead west of London to Reading, Berkshire – a key commuter route currently feeding into London Paddington.

Lydd Airport on Kent’s Romney Marsh has appointed consultant Capita to design and manage its runway extension.

Lydd Airport’s 294m runway extension, plus a 150m starter extension, will be the first phase of its £25M development plans, which also include a new terminal building.

Once completed, the extended runway will enable B737-type aircraft to fly with a full payload of passengers.

The airport is now nearing completion of a number of pre-commencement conditions required to enable planning permission for the runway extension to be implemented.

Bosses hope to invite contractors to tender for the runway construction project in late summer and anticipate that work will begin before the end of the year.  

 

The government has announced that Crossrail will be extended to Reading and Twyford.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) have today (27 March 2014) said extending the east to west rail line means that more passengers would enjoy a direct connection to central London and beyond, without the need to change at Paddington.

When the line fully opens in 2019, Crossrail will serve a total of 40 stations along the entire route, with two trains an hour running from Reading.

Rail minister Stephen Hammond said: Crossrail reaching Reading is further proof of our commitment to deliver a transport network fit for the 21st century. It will improve connectivity and deliver greater choice and convenience for passengers travelling into London.

It will also make better use of the already congested Great Western Main Line, freeing up capacity for further improvements including potential direct services from Reading to Heathrow as part of the western access scheme.

In addition I have requested Network Rail to look at the cost benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.

 

Consultant WYG has said in a trading statement that it expects pre-tax profit to be 10% above expectations for its full year results to 31 March when it reports on 3 June.

“In the UK, the continued economic recovery is stimulating activity across many of our sectors and the outlook for consultancy is encouraging, albeit with some variability regionally and pricing remaining competitive,” said the statement. “We have focused our efforts on retaining the major, long term framework agreements that underpin our work and on maximising the opportunities that these provide.

“New opportunities in our overseas markets continue to emerge in both the international development markets and the more traditional private markets. As previously referred to, the delay in agreeing the next seven year EU budget has had a knock-on effect on the pipeline of new work for Poland and Turkey.  However, our work with UK Government departments (MOD, FCO, DFID) continues to grow and the Group is now strongly positioned to secure new contracts across DFID’s Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS) framework, with a particular focus on Africa.”

 

Regulator Ofgem has referred the energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“A market investigation will once and for all clear the air and allow the CMA to ensure that there are no further barriers to effective competition,” the regulator said in a statement. “An investigation would reassure consumers and complement Ofgem’s reforms for a simpler, clearer and fairer energy market.”

It, alongside the CMA and Office of Fair Trading, has determined that there remain concerns about barriers to entry for independent suppliers and persistent high market shares of the largest energy companies.

The regulator said there existing declining consumer confidence and little evidence that firms were becoming more efficient.

Energy secretary Ed Davey said: “This is tough action based on a detailed, independent expert assessment of the state of competition in Britain’s energy markets - leading to the first ever market reference for the energy markets.

“We will give Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority whatever support they need to get this done as quickly as possible.

However, concerns have been raised that the move will lead to investor uncertainty in the market and potentially stall infrastructure investment.

 

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