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In the papers - Friday, 4 April 2008

Leading construction companies are braced for fines running into tens of millions of pounds in a price-fixing probe that has pulled in scores of businesses and thrown the industry into turmoil...

...The Office of Fair Trading is expected soon to impose penalties after uncovering alleged breaches of competition rules involving more than 100 companies working on public and private sector contracts – The Financial Times

Four proposed new towns of 15,000 homes or more are on a shortlist of 15 sites for the eco-town programme published by the government yesterday. The list will be cut to 10 successful bids in the next six months, each of which will have to be zero-carbon as a whole and "exemplar" in at least on area of environmental sustainability - The Guardian

Passengers using Heathrow's Terminal 5 would soon experience "impeccable service", the new chief executive of the airport's operator said yesterday. Colin Matthews, making his first public comments since taking up his post on Tuesday, apologised for the distress suffered by passengers but refused to blame any one single factor for that at one stage left more than 20,000 luggage bags misplaced – The Financial Times

Plans for 10 new "eco-towns" prompted claims of "political opportunism" from the Tories yesterday after it emerged that most of the shortlisted sites fell within Conservative constituencies. Caroline Flint, housing minister, said the schemes would be Britain's first new towns for nearly 50 years and they could provide up 100,000 homes under green standards – The Financial Times

Confusion over the introduction of compulsory energy regulations for commercial buildings next week could delay widespread take-up say experts. A scheme to label energy standards of commercial buildings was launched by the government yesterday. All buildings over a certain size will need an energy performance certificate if sold or let from Sunday – The Financial Times

VAT on bicycles and other "green" purchases such as wind turbines and environmentally friendly light bulbs should be cut, David Cameron suggested yesterday. Addressing businessmen in the City, Mr Cameron, who until now has focused his green tax policies on higher charges for polluters, said he was also keen on rewarding the most environmentally conscious through the tax system - The Daily Telegraph

British Airways has put the financial cost of the disastrous opening of Terminal 5 at £16m. The company said that delays at its flagship terminal were ongoing, but it expected to be operating a normal service by the weekend - The Daily Telegraph

The majority of the Government's new "eco-towns" will be built in southern England, it was announced yesterday. As many as 200,000 "eco-friendly" homes will be created in the first new towns to be constructed in Britain for 40 years - The Daily Telegraph

A new Marine Bill will set up a UK-wide planning system which will include measures to speed up approvals for offshore windfarms – at the same time as bringing in a new right of access to the coastline. The Bill will be put into law before the end of this Parliament, which in practice means either this autumn or in autumn 2009 - The Independent

British Airways gave investors fresh cause for worry yesterday after it revealed that it lost £16m due to last week's disastrous opening of Terminal Five and that its all-important premium traffic fell sharply last month. While T5 seems to be slowly working out the kinks, shareholders will be more concerned by a 5 per cent drop in premium traffic for the carrier in March compared to the same month a year ago - The Independent

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