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In the papers today - Friday 30 May 2008

MPs are to be offered the opportunity to vote down controversial schemes for new nuclear power plants, motorways and extensions to ports and airports as part of a package of concessions announced last night to head off another big rebellion by Labour MPs when parliament returns on Monday...

...John Healey, the minister for local government, has written to all MPs announcing that he is amending the planning reform bill - due for its third reading on Monday - to give MPs a greater say over new national strategies for nuclear energy, renewable energy, airports, ports and roads - The Guardian

Abu Dhabi unveiled plans yesterday to invest £1.02 bn in a project designed to make it a world leader in solar power. Despite the deserts of Arabia being rich in oil, the Gulf state is betting that this alternative source of energy could help to secure the region's long-term economic future. The investment by Masdar, a state-sponsored renewable energy fund, represents one of the largest stakes in the solar industry – The Times

Mass extinctions of plants and animals could have a severe impact on the living standards of the poorest people on the planet and cost up to £40bn a year, the first major report into the economic impact of biodiversity loss has found – Independent

Windfall gains made by the government from taxes on North Sea oil would more than pay for a postponement of the 2p rise in fuel duty scheduled for this October. Research by the Independent and the Institute of Fiscal Studies reveals that the government will make a gain of around £1bn in this tax year – Independent

Thousands of communities blighted by landfill sites can look forward to a greener future, with dumps being transformed into woodlands. A ten-year study has found that it is possible to grow mature and sturdy trees on land once used to dispose of liquid, clinical and hazardous waste without any threat of leakage in the local environment – The Times

Plans for a fast-track system to approve new nuclear power stations threaten to cause a revolt by Labour MPs who claim that the policy bypasses democratic controls. At least 30 Labour backbenchers are ready to support a joint amendment with the Conservatives to scupper the main element of the reforms, which could also change planning rules for motorways and airport terminals – The Times

A selection – both popular and populist – of Britain's best new buildings was announced by the Royal Institute of British Architects yesterday. The 92 structures of every kind include national and international landmarks that reveal the scope of construction carpeting the country. Some of the buildings have been in the news for years, often for all the wrong reasons – The Financial Times

The company that owns Britain's mainline railways has ordered a halt to work on a key project after debris from a bridge fell on to the track near the UK's busiest station. Hundreds of passengers had to be walked along the track from trains on Wednesday evening after debris from a new bridge over the Great Eastern mainline near London Liverpool Street fell on to the track – The Financial Times

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