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In the papers today - 7th July 2008

Families facing spiraling shopping bills were told by Gordon Brown yesterday to stop wasting food, as a government report said that Britons were throwing away groceries worth more than £1 billion a year...

...A cross-Whitehall study into higher food costs has identified waste as a factor - The Times

British Gas, the country's largest energy supplier, is preparing for a fresh round of energy price rises of at least 15 per cent, which could hit its 16 million customers within a matter of weeks. Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is struggling to maintain profitability in its retail energy business as gas prices have trebled over the past year - The Times

France's two biggest energy groups, EDF and GDF Suez, are vying to build the country's latest nuclear plant, casting fresh doubt on their participation in Britain's planned nuclear renaissance. Last week President Nicolas Sarkozy gave the go-ahead for a second new-generation European pressurised reactor (EPR) on an existing site - The Guardian

Ministers have whittled down the contenders for a £1billion-a-year contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear site to two, with a decision expected to be announced on Friday. Favourites include CH2M Hill, the US company that was hired to clean up New Orleans after hurricane Katrina - The Times

Ministers are expected this week to "call in" BAA's application to build a second runway and second terminal at Stansted airport. A public inquiry into the project is likely to start next year amid fierce opposition from environmental campaigners, local residents and local authorities. BAA, which operates seven airports in the UK including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, applied for planning permission in March – The Financial Times

The Conservatives announced plans yesterday to curb rising petrol prices by cutting fuel tax when oil prices rise, saying the move would reduce prices at the pumps by 5p a litre. A Tory government would introduce a "Fair Fuel Stabiliser" to use the additional tax revenue generated by the oil price rise to absorb increases at the pump by 50 per cent - The Times

Boris Johnson is considering watering down the congestion charge scheme in London, a move that may have national implications for road pricing. The Mayor of London might adopt elements of the scheme planned for Manchester, in which charges apply for only a few hours a day during the busiest periods - The Times

A new river crossing in east London is crucial for improving business, according to companies in the area. Almost half of businesses have identified the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge, which may never be built, as the single infrastructure scheme that would most benefit their trade. In a survey of companies at the London end of the Thames Gateway, conducted on behalf of Gateway to London, the inward investment agency, 48 per cent enthusiastically backed the contentious scheme – The Financial Times

Taxpayers face a multi million pound bill after nearly 50 road projects across the country went almost £700m over budget. The cost of the schemes, which include a six-lane toll crossing over the Mersey in north-west England, has jumped from £1.3bn to just over £2bn, according to government figures - The Guardian

Troubled housebuilder Persimmon will confirm tomorrow it has made around 1,000 staff redundant - bringing the total number of job losses announced in the sector in the past week to 3,200 - The Daily Telegraph

A gleaming new high-speed train solely for MEP's launches today. The service, linking Brussels with the French city of Strasbourg, is being inaugurated by France in the hope of stamping out criticism of the "travelling circus" that sees the entire European Parliament uproot to the capital of the Alsace region for one week a month, at a cost of £158 million a year - The Independent

Network Rail and train operating companies should increase their expenditure on security and bring the rail network's anti-terrorist measures in line with the aviation industry, according to business travellers. Lengthy security at Heathrow airport and restrictions on the contents of hand luggage are the bane of many air travellers, but a survey published today indicates that they are deemed necessary by premium passengers - The Guardian

The risks posed by employees linked to terrorist groups have been inadequately addressed by companies managing Britain’s infrastructure, according to government officials. The risk of disruption to elements of Britain’s critical national infrastructure remains an important official concern two years after the attacks on London’s transport network that killed 52 commuters. Ministers have just endorsed a new way of assessing the infrastructure assets that are most important to the economy, following criticism last year that the existing approach to risk assessment was unsatisfactory – The Financial Times

A new report by Australia's top scientists predicts that the country will be hit by a 10-fold increase in heatwaves and that the droughts will almost double in frequency and become more widespread because of climate change. The scientific projections envisage rainfall continuing to decline in a country that is already one of the hottest and driest in the world - The Guardian

Large areas of wetland need to be created in the next 50 years to protect wildlife, reduce flood risk and store carbon, conservationists say today. According to the Wetland Vision Partnership, England has lost 90% of its wetlands in the past 1,000 years - The Guardian

Residents in southern India are earning a penny every time they spend one at public lavatories in an effort to clean up the streets. Scores of people queue every day in Musiri, a town in Tamil Nadu, to be paid 10 paise (around 0.8 pence) for each visit. The trips are entered on a "user card" and totaled up once a month, usually earning about 50p - The Daily Telegraph


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