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Kosovo taskforce launches damage assessment mission


THE KOSOVO Regeneration Taskforce is to send a high ranking delegation of civil engineers to the war-torn country this week to assess its reconstruction needs.

The eight-strong group will be led by Industry Minister John Battle. It will leave on Monday and is due to spend three days in the region.

The delegation will meet with military and aid agency engineers already on the ground. Its aim is to assess the infrastructure requirements for Kosovo and the most appropriate action for firms seeking to work in the region.

Members of the team will focus on different sectors. The details are:

Taylor Woodrow chairman Bruce Russell will represent the Export Group for the Constructional Industries and will focus on contracting issues.

Amec business development director Ian Thomas will assess Kosovo's transport needs including roads, railways and bridges.

Either Kennedy Construction chairman Stuart Doughty or WS Atkins director Tim Askew will focus on the water sector.

Mott MacDonald director Mike Viney will look at the power sector. It is believed that most opportunities in this area will be in electrical distribution and upgrading substations.

British Consultants Bureau representatives will look at healthcare facilities.

The decision to send the group was made on Monday at a meeting of the Government/private sector taskforce (NCE last week).

Ove Arup deputy chairman Nigel Thompson, who chairs the taskforce, said it should be seen as representing UK plc rather than a collection of private organisations.

He said: 'One of our prime functions is to decide which will be the most appropriate companies to carry out particular tasks. We are trying to make sure we share fully integrated information with all the Government departments.'

Thompson added that he hoped to debrief consultants and contractors interested in working in the region next Friday. However, he was also keen to play down the amount of work available. He said: 'I do not think there will be much big work in terms of bridges and such like.'

Last week's G8 summit meeting between the leaders of the most industrialised countries put the cost of Kosovo's reconstruction at close to £4bn.

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