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In the papers today - 2nd July 2008

Severn Trent Water escaped with a lower-than-expected fine of £2M after it pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to lying about leakage information for two years...

...After an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Britain's second-biggest water company admitted that it falsely reported leakage data to the water industry regulator Ofwat in 2001 and 2002 - The Independent

Shares in the FTSE 250 construction firm Morgan Sindall plunged 22 per cent yesterday after it warned that sluggish housing and property markets would hit the group next year. The group's shares fell 162.5p to 585.5p as it said the "increasingly challenging" conditions in the past three months would affect 2009 results - The Independent

Boris Johnson signaled an end to the expansion of the London congestion charge zone yesterday as he unveiled a consultation exercise that could scrap the toll's western extension. The London mayor ruled out extending the charge to the capital's suburbs and admitted that a controversial addition to the scheme could be dropped 18 months after it was introduced - The Guardian

The "clean tech" sector has bounced back from the credit crunch with new global figures showing a resurgence of interest from investors in alternative energy - labelled a "green Klondike" that could reach $600bn annually by 2020. New Energy Finance, a specialist consultant which has compiled the latest figures for the United Nations environment programme, says money raised and spent during 2008 should be ahead of 2007, a banner year when annual investment levels grew 60% to reach almost $150bn (£73bn) - The Guardian

A huge retail-led regeneration scheme bordering the London Olympic site was given the final go-ahead yesterday in one of the most tangible signs yet of the catalyst effect of the 2012 games. Westfield, the Australian-based shopping centre group, announced it had secured crucial agreements with a range of Olympic and development agencies to allow work to proceed on the £1.5bn Stratford City scheme - The Financial Times

The rising cost of petrol has led to a severe downturn in the number of people visiting out-of-town shopping centres, figures suggest. Last month, out-of-town retail destinations experienced a 5.8 per cent fall in shopper numbers compared with the same month last year - The Daily Telegraph

Extra government compensation for more than a million people who are losing out from the abolition of the 10p tax band could be on the way, the Treasury has signalled. Ministers came under new pressure from Labour rebels over the tax rate in a Commons debate yesterday on the Finance Bill which will enact the controversial change - The Daily Telegraph

A rundown council estate labelled a heritage icon is due to be demolished after the government rejected calls for it to be listed. Architects Lord Rogers of Riverside, Lord Foster of Thamesbank and Zaha Hadid were among those who had claimed the Robin Hood gardens, one of London's most dilapidated and neglected housing estates was a masterpiece worthy of preservation - The Times

Fears that the already severe slump in the housing market will mutate into a full-blown crash intensified yesterday as a key survey showed house prices plunging at their fastest annual rate since the end of the last recession - The Times

Severn Trent could be forced to return up to £40M to customers as Ofwat prepares to bring further sanctions against the water company. The water regulator is expected to reveal shortly how it intends to deal with the company's misreporting of water leakage levels, for which it was fined £2M at the Old Bailey yesterday - The Times

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