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NCE Live News Updates 10 July 2013: Heathrow in need of capacity boost, boss warns

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews has warned that Heathrow is in danger of losing its status as an international hub.

2.47pm: Torrential rain causes havoc in central China

Heavy rain across large parts of central China has caused landslides and floods washing away infrastructure and buildings.

In China’s Sichuan province in the heart of the country a huge landslide destroyed 11 buildings and buried up to 40 people.

According to the Xinhua news agency the 2km square landslide occurred in Zhongxing, in the province’s Dujiangyan city, following days of torrential rain.

And on Tuesday, a bridge in Jiangyou, also in Sichuan, collapsed under the pressure of flood waters leaving up to 12 people missing.

Heavy rainfall is forecast to continue in Sichuan province over the next 24 hours.

In 2008, Sichuan was hit by a devastating earthquake which led to almost 90,000 people dead or missing.


2.10pm: High tenders make Narrow Water a bridge too far

Narrow Water Bridge

Roughan & O’Donovan’s Narrow Water Bridge

The long-awaited Narrow Water Bridge scheme planned to link Co Down in Northern Ireland and Co Louth in the Irish Republic has been put on ice.

Louth County Council pulled the plug on the bridge (which was designed by Dublin-based engineer Roughan & O’Donovan) after tenders for the 660m-long cable-stayed structure came in way over budget with estimates ranging from €26M (£22M) to £34M.

Now, despite receiving planning permission and EU funding to the tune of €17.4M (£15M), the single-carriageway bridge will remain on on the drawing board.

A spokesperson for Louth County Council said: “While our ambition remains to see this socially and economically desirable project through to completion, the reality is that it is now effectively on hold”.


1.28pm: PF2 takes a step nearer reality as Government releases consultation document

The government has put out a consultation document explaining how it thinks PF2, the next generation of PPP, will pay for public infrastructure schemes.

The draft Shareholders’ Agreement will have a six week consultation period and will form the basis of the legal agreement that public bodies will issue alongside PF2 contracts..

Speaking on the day of the launch, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton also confirmed that 46 schools would be rebuilt using the PF2 model.

He said: “The launch of the consultation shows that we are getting on with delivering a new improved approach to the way we manage infrastructure projects.

“Taking a share of equity in these projects means a greater voice for the public sector, stronger partnerships with the private sector and increased disclosure to the taxpayer”.


11.32am: Heathrow boss paints gloomy picture unless capacity can be boosted

Heathrow Airport chief executive Colin Matthews has warned that Heathrow is in danger of losing its status as an international hub.

Currently there are five international hubs in Europe: Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Madrid.

But Matthews told an oral hearing of the Airports Commission today that the growth of rival airports, notably Frankfurt, and also others in the Middle-East could strip Heathrow of its elite status unless the London airport’s capacity can be boosted.

He told the commission: “If the UK does not want to be left behind by its foreign rivals, it must have the connectivity to compete and trade on the world stage.

“That connectivity can only come from a single hub airport in the right place for taxpayers, passengers and business. Only Heathrow can meet all these demands.”


11.12am: Thumbs up from ACE for Boris’ London road vision

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has backed the Mayor’s Roads Task Force vision for London’s roads (see below).

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “The single most valuable thing for the infrastructure industry is establishing long term certainty and planning wherever possible. This helps us to ensure efficient, cost-effective and timely delivery.

“The Mayor’s Roads Task Force has set out a vision that provides a vital step in doing this for London’s roads”.


11.03am: £30bn ‘vision’ for future of London roads unveiled

London mayor Boris Johnson has welcomed a “bold” 20-year, £30bn vision for the future of the capital’s roads network.

Set out by the Mayor’s Road Task Force, the report includes a raft of proposals such as “roofing over arterial roads”, encouraging cyclists, banning HGVs from the centre of town during the day, “intelligent” traffic control systems and tunnels to replace busy sections of road.

Johnson, who described the plan as “bold” added: “For this great city to retain its global pre-eminence, it is essential we continue to invest and have the courage and vision to develop and drive forward innovative solutions. 

“This is a fantastic contribution and I look forward to working with partners, including those represented on the Roads Task Force, in taking many of these ideas forward,” he added.

Click here to see the report yourself.

More on this story tomorrow.


10.12am: CPA downbeat about Q2 ‘bounce back’.

The Construction Products Association’s (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey released yesterday showed an uplift in sales during the second quarter of 2013.

So-called ‘heavy-side’ construction product sales which include steel and concrete, bounced back in Q2 with 14% of manufacturers seeing an improvement compared to Q1.

The sale of ‘light-side’ materials (plasterboard, paint and the like) was less noticeable with activity remaining ‘broadly flat’ in the three months to June.

CPA economist, Milja Keijonen told NCE that the apparent ‘bounce back’ should be viewed in context of a poor Q1: “Bad weather including snow slowed or stopped many projects, this particularly affected ‘heavy side’ sales which include concrete, steel and other structural materials.”

Keijonen added that while that the while “product manufacturers remain optimistic about sales growth overall” the outlook in general was “flat” which was she pointed out, an improvement on Q1.

On a positive note Keijonen said the rail industry may turn up trumps because of the expected workstreams generated by Crossrail and the Thames Link programmes.


10am: Canadian police are investigating whether Saturday’s train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec is the result of criminal negligence or sabotage.

According to news outlet Reuters, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether train operator Montreal, Maine and Atlantic followed safety procedures prior to the incident

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