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NCE Live News Updates 10 May 2013: MPs urge abandonment of 'Boris Island' airport plans

MPs have today released a report urging the abandonment of plans for a “Boris Island” airport in the Thames Estuary in favour of expansion at Heathrow airport.

3.30pm: Workers have completed installation of the spire on the One World Trade Center, bringing its total height to 541m.

More information and images of the spire installation can be found here.


3pm: Five contractors have been signed up to work with Hafren Power on its controversial proposal for a £25 billion barrage across the Severn Estuary.

Arup, Bechtel and URS are working with the utilities firm on its plan for an 18km electricity-generating barrage between England and Wales.

DHL and Mott MacDonald are also involved in assessing the delivery model needed to manage the planning and construction of the huge scheme.

Energy minister Greg Barker told MPs in March that Hafren’s plans lacked detail. But the power firm believes the estuary’s tidal range could meet 5 per cent of the UK’s annual electricity needs.


2.30pm: A civils firm has been fined after a construction worker was injured during a project beneath London’s Dorchester Hotel.

Camden-based Joseph Gallagher Ltd was fined £6,000 after Adrian Murray, 48, had his leg broken by the whiplash of an industrial hose.

Murray had finished a shift spraying concrete on a service tunnel between the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane when the incident happened.

The Health and Safety Executive found that Joseph Gallagher Ltd had failed to properly assess the risks involved with the use of compressed air.


1pm: The government has announced that its first privately funded school projects will come to market next month.

The Education Funding Agency said the Hertfordshire, Luton and Reading batch of schemes through the Priority School Building Programme would be launched on 28 May and placed in OJEU in June.

It said a total of 46 schools in five batches worth a total of £700M would be available to bid for by this time next year.

A further £300M of centrally-funded projects will be put to market by April 2015.


12.30pm: A senior industry figure has spoken of the effects of the construction slump on contractors.

Andrew Duncan, managing director of property at consultant Turner & Townsend, said the state of the industry was “truly dire”.

He was speaking after the Office for National Statistics revealed that construction output was at its lowest level since the final quarter of 1998.

Duncan said: “The industry has been forced to accept these tough conditions as the new norm, and has adapted accordingly. As the big players are being forced to pitch for smaller projects, those in the squeezed middle are having to slash margins to negligible levels - and in the most extreme cases, some firms are pitching for work at below cost, simply to keep cash-flow coming in.

He added: “This is clearly unsustainable in the long term.”


11.30am: Scottish transport minister Keith Brown has outlined plans for the A96 dualling programme.

The programme outlines a number of design and development packages for the project. These include preliminary engineering and strategic environmental assessment on the A96 corridor; Design work between Inshes and Nairn; and assessing possible bypass options in the towns of Forres, Elgin, Keith and Inverurie.

“Dualling this important road is a significant undertaking which will require in depth planning and design,” said Brown. “This will ensure we deliver the right scheme to help tackle congestion while providing better journey time reliability and road safety for all users.”

The project is due to be completed by 2030.


10.45am: Construction output has fallen to its lowest level in almost 15 years.

The Office for National Statistics said seasonally adjusted output was 2.4% lower in the first quarter of this year than in the final quarter of 2012.

It said construction work was now at its lowest level since the final quarter of 1998.

All sectors of work saw falls in value in Q1 2013 except private housing repair and maintenance, which saw an increase of just 0.4%.


10.15: United Utilities is seeking contractors for its Asset Management Programme 6 (AMP6) framework.

The utilities firm launched the process to find up to five civils firms to carry out up to £3bn of work between April 2015 and March 2020.

Work will include investigation, design, construction and commissioning on projects at water and wastewater treatment works, pipelines, pumping stations and elsewhere in the water sector.

Contractors have until 6 June to register their interest.


9.30am: MPs have called on the government to abandon plans for a Thames Estuary hub airport.

A report published by the Transport Select Committee examining the UK government’s Aviation Strategy instead called for a third runway at Heathrow to deal with an increase in demand. It also claimed a four-runway proposal may also have merit.

The committee’s report also claimed that High Speed 2 should include dedicated rail services to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.


9am: The University of Cambridge is seeking developers for a £1bn housing development.

The 150ha, 3,000-home development will be the country’s largest to be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and BRE Environmental Assessment Method (Breeam) Excellent building standards.

“The university secured planning consent for the scheme in February 2013, which includes the section 106 agreement,” said project director Roger Taylor. “It is a superb opportunity for developers, large and small, to be an integral part of the first phase of Cambridge University’s single largest capital development in its 800-year history.”


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