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In the papers - Tuesday 1 April 2008

Activity in the once-booming construction sector has tumbled to its lowest level in more than a decade, putting the government's house-building target at risk, according to a report today...

...The latest quarterly survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors adds to growing evidence that the global credit crunch is affecting sectors of the economy outside the City. House-building dropped 10% last year to about 170,000, and RICS said the recent abrupt slowdown in activity would further undermine the government's target announced by Gordon Brown last year to add 3M homes by 2020 - The Guardian

Emissions trading firms risk damaging the integrity of the nascent market by making false claims about their green credentials, the City watchdog has warned. The Financial Services Authority also cautioned that the fast-growing market in carbon dioxide emissions poses risks that could harm other commodities markets such as gas and electricity – The Daily Telegraph

The Norfolk Broads will be lost to the sea, Lady Young, the chief Environment Agency, said yesterday. Lady Young said that salt water could overwhelm the defences around the Broads within a year of the next 100 years – The Daily Telegraph

Wind turbines or solar panels built by UK companies as far afield as China and India could count towards Britain's renewable energy targets under controversial government proposals. Baroness Shriti Vadera, the business minister, told a recent meeting of European Union energy ministers that British investments in alternative energy - anywhere in the world - should count towards the country's target - The Financial Times

Pressure mounted on airport and airline bosses responsible for the chaos at Heathrow's Terminal 5 yesterday as ministers accused them of damaging the reputation of UKplc and national pride. Criticism in parliament of the "fiasco"at the £4.3bn showpiece terminal came as the government revealed it would take up to a week for British Airways to return 28, 000 misplaced bags to their owners - The Financial Times

The property industry is to make a last ditch effort to persuade the government to reverse its £1.3bn tax on empty commercial buildings, claiming it could stymie development and lead to urban wastelands. The industry-wide attempt has been pre-empted by government threats of legislation, should there be any evasion of the tax. - The Financial Times

The government has pinned the blame for the collapse of London Underground contractor Metronet on the company rather than the £17bn public-private partnership agreement that underpinned the business. In an official response to a scathing report by the House of Commons transport select committee, which had said the PPP contracts were "pretty much useless", the Department for Transport said: "The government is clear that this was predominantly a corporate failure, and that the structural weaknesses of Metronet led to its own downfall." - The Guardian

Energy group E.ON yesterday asked the government to hold back granting planning permission for the company's controversial £1.5bn Kingsnorth power plant, which would be Britain's first coal-fired power station for 20 years. E.ON said the Kent project should not be approved until the government had finished consultation this year on regulating carbon capture and storage - The Guardian

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