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In the papers today - 25th June 2008

Gordon Brown has conceded ground in his proposals to reform planning in order to head off a major rebellion...

...The Prime Minister offered seven concessions when he met Clive Betts, leader of the revolt, over his intention to transfer the final decision on major projects from ministers to an unelected commission - The Independent

The bosses of Europe's largest energy companies lined up to warn British consumers that soaring gas and electricity bills are now inevitable in the second half of this year. Britain's six biggest gas and electricity suppliers presented a united front giving evidence to the Business and Enterprise Select Committee, rejecting MPs' criticisms of their profits and warning prices could rise by as much as 40 per cant by the end of the year - The Independent

Britain’s flood defences are inadequate to deal with inundations on the scale seen last year, largely owing to confusion over which government agencies should take responsibility, an official review will say on Wednesday. The Pitt Review will criticise the lack of a coherent national strategy to prepare for floods and deal with their aftermath, and will call for the government agencies charged with flood warnings and defences – the Environment Agency, the Met Office, the Highways Agency and local authorities – to co-operate more closely – The Financial Times

BAA, the owner of Heathrow airport, should scrap nearly 5,000 flights per year to ease the congestion at Britain's biggest flight hub, according to a business group. London First said action needs to be taken immediately to stop delays at Heathrow, because a proposed third runway will not be ready until at least 2020 - The Guardian

Protesters against government plans for "eco-towns" took their battle a step further yesterday by filing an application for judicial review of the entire programme. The application was launched by residents in the Stratford-upon-Avon area which is on a shortlist of 15 possible sites for new carbon-neutral developments to be built largely on brown-field sites – The Financial Times

The vast majority of schemes that sell carbon credits to offset pollution are deliverng 30% less than they promise, a report published today claims. The study will be unveiled by Lord Stern at the launch of a service offering ratings similiar to those on financial products for the carbon-credit market - which is expected to be worth £160-£400bn by 2020 - The Guardian

Hopefuls from Britain put in almost a tenth of applications to the European Space Agency for the next generation of astronauts. The agency is shifting 8,413 online requests by scientists, pilots and others - 822 from Britain, 697 of them from men - The Guardian

Extravagant plans were unveiled yesterday for the world's first swirling skyscrapers, with each floor rotating up to once an hour to form an ever-changing profile on the skyline. The first two towers are to be built in Dubai and Moscow in what architect David Fisher describes as a new era of dynamic architecture. The rotating floors will be made of prefabricated units that spin around a concrete core. Production of the prefabricated units is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks at a factory outside Bari, in Italy - The Times

The Cutty Sark has been saved after a £3.3M donation by a reclusive shipping magnate. Sammy Ofer, a Romanian-born Israeli who served with the Royal Navy as a young man, has provided enough money to ensure the full renovation of the 1869 clipper in Greenwich, south-east London - The Independent

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