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In the papers - Wednesday 31 October 2007

Brtiain faces the prospect of power shortages and soaring prices this winter after the National Grid warned of a shortfall in electricity-generating capacity yesterday...

...The alert coincides with a surge in gas prices, which are now 40% higher than in continental Europe, and the confirmation that a vital import plant in South Wales will not be operational this winter - The Guardian

Billions of pounds in private sector funding will be needed for big transport projects over the next two years, ministers predicted yesterday, in a study that opened the door to more road tolls, wider motorways and a high-speed rail link to the midlands. The long term strategy document, which runs to 90 pages and promises five-year plans and the publication of a new transport white paper by December 2008, was billed by Ruth Kelly, transport secretary, as a break from the over-ambitious promises and flawed policymaking that have blighted Labour's record since 1997 – The Financial Times

New take-off and landing slots at UK airports could be designated as "green slots" and allocated according to the environmental performance of aircraft, under a plan mooted by the government yesterday. The document on sustainable transport makes clear, however, that ministers have little idea whether such an initiative is practicable or, indeed, whether emissions would be reduced – The Financial Times

The prospect of a new high-speed rail link with London left civic leaders in Birmingham unimpressed yesterday. The new line could reduce the journey time between the nation's second city and the capital to well under an hour, but Brummies are keen on revamping New Street, the city's ramshackle station, and after that on improving local transport – The Financial Times

A catastrophic failure of the largest dam in Iraq would send a wave 65ft high hurtling down the valley of the river Tigris, killing up to 500,000 people, US engineers warned yesterday. The dam, which is near Mosul in the north of the country, was built in 1984 on a bed of water soluble rock and is in imminent danger of collapse – The Independent

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