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Infrastructure planning beset by problems

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SIGNIFICANT HURDLES have to be overcome to deliver efficient utilities to a regenerated Thames Gateway area, energy experts said last week.

Up to 600MW will be required to power the proposed 120,000 new homes in east London, Kent and Essex, Laing Energy business leader Liam Warren told a conference.

But available capacity is limited to 277MW.

Warren called on Gateway bosses to harness waste from energy to fill the gap.

'It seems ridiculous to import power and export waste, ' he said. 'Surely we need to close that loop. We could have our own waste reception centres, convert it to energy and have zero landfill.'

Halcrow director John Lawson added that supplying sufficient water to the development would also be challenging.

He pointed to the likely difficulties in securing the two reservoirs he predicts will be needed.

'The last new reservoir in the UK took 15 years and went through two public inquiries in a very contentious atmosphere.'

Water conservation will also be essential, but potentially troublesome, he said.

'The water companies have a major concern about the practicalities of making that happen. Water conservation measures aren't sexy and don't attract buyers.'

The water industry's structure, revolving around five year planning cycles, also conflicts with the need for longterm planning, he pointed out.

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