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GE news in brief

Piling contractor Wilky Foundations Systems will become Neil Foundations Systems (NFS), following a management buyout.

The change reflects its new independent status for the firm. The company will continue to be led by Neil Miller, managing director since 2004. NFS will remain at Stake Works, Farnborough, Hampshire.

Dubai, home to the man-made Palm and World offshore islands, will now add The Universe. It will surround the existing World. Islands will take the shape of the sun, the moon and the planets, according to developer, Nakheel. Construction will begin following engineering, feasibility and environmental studies that are already under way.

Scotland's new large-scale hydro electric scheme has seen the breakthrough of its 200m long tunnel boring machine. It has created 8km of tunnels and climbed over 600m on the scheme for Scottish and Southern Energy, at Glendoe near Loch Ness. Development of the tunnels will allow water from a new reservoir to reach the underground power station near the south east corner of the loch before being discharged into the loch itself (GE August 2006). The power station's capacity will be about 100MW.

Every county council and unitary authority in England and Wales will have to hire senior flood management engineers. According to recommendations in Sir Michael Pitt's final report into last summer's floods. Speaking last month at an environment select committee meeting, Pitt confirmed that his final report, due this summer, will recommend that in-house experts be employed to enable councils to lead on the management of surface water flooding and drainage. "Local authorities have been quite seriously denuded of experts," he said.

Following recent LABC approval, foundation and piling firm the Withers Group has now received NHBC endorsement for its With-A-Void anti-heave solution. The construction method, used in conjunction with piled foundations, features collapsible formwork that does away with the need for traditional void formers.

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