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In the papers today - Tuesday 17th June

Conservative leader David Cameron all but ruled out Heathrow expansion under a Tory government yesterday…

The Conservative leader came down on the side of environmentalists and campaigners against a third runway after months of internal debate. "Gordon Brown is pig-headedly pursuing a third runway just to try to prove a political point," he said in a speech on the environment and economy - The Times

Motorists living in Gordon Brown's eco-towns face fines for driving their cars out of town, under radical proposals being drawn up by ministers, The Times has learned. Residents of the largely pedestrian eco-towns may also be expected to park their cars at the outskirts and walk or cycle to their homes, up to 10 minutes away - The Times

Teachers who "lack knowledge and understanding of science and are not confident teaching it", and a lack of practical experiments, turn primary pupils off the subject, according to an inquiry at 200 schools over three years by Ofsted to find out why standards have stalled; from 2000 to 2007 the UK has slipped 10 places in an OECD league - The Guardian

A Conservative government is likely to block a thrid runway for Heathrow airport, David Cameron indicated yesterday as he criticised Gordon Brown for "pig headedly" pressing ahead with the scheme. In his first big environment speech of the year, the Tory leader called on the government to make Heathrow "better, not bigger" and denied that the party was abandoning its green agenda - The Guardian

Degree standards in many British universities are in danger of collapsing because lecturers are under pressure to "mark positively" and turn a blind eye to plagiarism, the man who was in charge of safeguarding standards at Britain's largest university will say today. Professor Geoffrey Alderman, former chairman of the academic council at the University of London, warns that "league table culture" has led to an explosion in the number of firsts awarded - The Independent

David Cameron paved the way for a Conservative government to block a third runway at Heathrow in a landmark speech on the environment on Monday that threatened to open a rift with business. Ministers have strongly backed the business argument that Heathrow needs to expand to maintain the UK’s competitiveness. But plans for a third runway are facing mounting opposition from residents’ and environmental groups, backed by some local authorities – The Financial Times

Electricity producers would be unable to comply with Conservative proposals set out on Monday to allow no new coal-fired power plants to be built without "some element of carbon capture and storage", an electricity trade body warned. The Tories had "the wrong approach", said David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, as their proposals would make carbon capture and storage "mandatory before it has been demonstrated successfully" – The Financial Times

Babcock & Brown, the Australian infrastructure investor that last week saw its shares drop more than 50 per cent on debt concerns, expects to receive indicative offers for its European wind farm assets this week. The Australian group hopes a disposal of the assets will lead to a much-needed cash infusion into its balance sheet. Last week, the group said it expected "completion of the European wind asset sale process" in this year’s third quarter – The Financial Times

Households may be overcharged for the collection of their rubbish under new bin tax rules because of glitches with the technology used to weigh the refuse, it has been disclosed. Accurately measuring waste is vital to plans to levy fees on the households that throw away most – as they will be charged for the amount they produce. Flaws with the electronic systems meant to weigh bins have raised the prospect of people being wrongly charged. The monitoring errors have been experienced by several councils testing the systems - The Daily Telegraph

Traditional school science experiments are being ditched as teachers rely on textbooks to make sure pupils pass tests, according to Ofsted.
Dissecting frogs, using Bunsen burners and building circuit boards have become a thing of the past in many schools - leaving thousands of children "bored and demotivated" by science, according to a report - The Daily Telegraph

Thousands of teachers could be required to spend a week of their summer holiday studying maths, as part of a drive to improve numeracy levels in primary schools.
One teacher from each of England's 17,000 primary schools would be paid £1,000 a time to attend maths summer school for three consecutive years, in order to achieve maths specialist status - The Daily Telegraph

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