Spoke too soon on the flood news front as this afternoon the Environment Agency has this afternoon issued the all-too-familiar missive to be prepared for severe floods.
3.15pm: Fracking firm Cuadrilla has revealed its intention to set up two new shale gas exploration sites in the Fylde in north west England.
The intends to apply for planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells on each of the sites, one at Roseacre Wood and the other at Preston New Road.
Separate applications will also be made to install two seismic arrays that would be used to monitor the hydraulic fracturing process.
Consultant Arup is to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments for each of the new exploration sites.
3pm: Severe flood warnings are expected as further heavy rain and high tides sweep England, the Environment Agency has said.
High sea levels combined with strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of coastal flooding along the south west and southern coasts tonight and into Wednesday.
And the Agency added that after the wettest January on record in places, further widespread rain - falling on already saturated ground - could cause river and surface water flooding in the south and west of England as well as parts of the Midlands into the weekend.
Severe flood warnings - which mean that there is danger to life - are likely to be issued along the Dorset coastline for Wednesday morning high tide.
As of 12pm there were 44 flood warnings and 157 flood alerts in place across England and Wales.
No floods news first thing today. Instead we’re hearing from Network Rail that it has chosen Balfour Beatty, Amey Carillion and ABC to carry out a seven year programme of electrification over several thousand kilometres of track.
11.45am: Construction growth dipped slightly at the start of 2014 due to a slowdown in the industrial and retail sectors, but market prospects remain strong, according to research by construction industry analyst Glenigan.
The value of main contracts awarded in final quarter of 2013 was 21% higher than the previous year, which showed that the industry was in a stronger position heading into 2014 than at this stage last year, it said.
The Glenigan Index, which covers the value of projects starting on site from November 2013 to January, was up 4% – driven primarily by continued expansion within the infrastructure sector.
Civil engineering projects also continue to strengthen, with the value of underlying infrastructure starts 35% higher than a year ago, it added.
With the rate of growth slowing at a national level, the West Midlands, South West, East of England, North East and Yorkshire and Humber regions all saw starts decline compared to the levels of a year ago. The most severe drop was felt in the South West, which saw a 29% decrease.
London saw a modest rise of 2%, while strong double digit growth was seen in the South East, East Midlands, North West and Scotland.
There was also a marked improvement in starts in Yorkshire & the Humber after the drop in starts seen during the third quarter.
The highest percentage growth was seen in Wales and Northern Ireland, where new starts are recovering from low levels seen at the turn of 2013.
9.30am: Network Rail has appointed four firms to its £2bn, seven year electrification framework.
Balfour Beatty, AmeyInabensa, CarillionPowerlines and ABC Electrification will work across six geographic frameworks (see box).
Southern region: AmeyInabensa
Central (London North Western, South) region: ABC
Central (East Midlands) region: CarillionPowerlines
Central (London North Western, North) region: Balfour Beatty
Scotland & North East region: CarillionPowerlines
Western & Wales region: ABC
Network Rail said that electrification schemes include the Great Western and Midland main lines; Liverpool to Manchester and Preston; the Valley lines in south Wales; and the “electric spine” from Southampton docks to the West Midlands and Yorkshire. When the work is complete, more than half of Britain’s rail network will be electrified with electric trains accounting for three-quarters of all traffic.
“Our work to electrify two thousand track miles represents the biggest programme of rail electrification in a generation and will provide faster, quieter and more reliable journeys for millions of passengers every week while cutting the cost of the railway,” said Network Rail infrastructure projects division managing director Simon KIrby.
Balfour Beatty said its win in the Central (London North Western, North) region would be worth in excess of £75M.