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NCE Live News Updates Wednesday 19 February: Wind farm expansion scrapped; Galliford Try sets out ambitions

Also this morning: homes evacuated in Ripon as ground opens up.

5pm: Network Rail has submitted plans for a new section of railway between Liverpool and Manchester.

The rail operator wants to build 240m of track near Huyton station to allow more non-stopping services to bypass local trains.

The project would be part of the £600m Northern Hub programme.

Martin Frobisher, area director for Network Rail, said: “The Northern Hub will transform the railway in the north of England.

“The plans at Huyton and Roby are a key part of this investment and will help to increase capacity on the line between Liverpool and Manchester.”


4.45pm: More holes in the ground are to be expected as ground water levels finally start to drop, an expert has warned.

There have been high profile ground collapses in Kent, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Yorkshire recently.

Chalk solution feature specialist and Peter Brett Associates partner Clive Edmonds said: “The failures we are seeing at the moment are as a result of the roofing strata weakening, softening and increasing in weight as water drains through.

“But as groundwater starts to fall there will be a number of sinkholes and dene holes where the groundwater has been providing hydraulic support and once this is removed there are likely to be new collapses.”

Read the full story here.


4.30pm: The M2 is set to fully reopen tomorrow morning after the huge hole that opened up on the central reservation was filled with pea shingle.

The void, measuring about 5m long, 2m wide and 5m deep, was discovered between J5 for Sittingbourne and J6 for Faversham on 11 February.

Consultancy TRL provided two coring rigs and staff to undertake round-the-clock investigations of the carriageway in one lane either side of the hole.

Two lanes are currently running in each direction, with full re-opening expected in the morning.


11.30am: Plans to expand the huge London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary have been scrapped because of environmental impact fears.

The Dong Energy-led consortium behind the scheme cancelled the extra grid capacity it had reserved for the 240MW project.

It was put off in part by a three-year wait to complete an assessment of the impact of the expansion on Red Throated Divers that spend winter in the area.

London Array general manager Mike O’Hare said: “In the absence of any certainty that Phase 2 would be able to go ahead, our shareholders have decided to surrender the Crown Estate agreement for lease on the site, terminate the grid connection option, and concentrate on other development projects in their individual portfolios.”

The 630MW first phase of the project is fully operational and claims to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.


10.30am: Fresh hole-in-the-road news here… the A12 in Suffolk was closed overnight after a hole appeared in the road.

The trunk road was closed in both directions near Station Square in Lowestoft after a void 5m long by 200mm deep was noticed by contractors.

It comesa few days after the M2 had to be closed in Kent because of a much deeper hole in the central reservation.


10am: Galliford Try has announced plans to grow its infrastructure business by 50%.

The firm announced that its group revenue was up from £678.3M in the final six months of 2012 to £803.5M in the same period last year.

“Following a year of sustained and improved levels of opportunity we intend to grow our building and infrastructure businesses by circa 50%,” it said in a statement.

“We expect turnover to increase from an improving private sector as well as an increased participation in frameworks and major projects.”

Galliford Try’s infrastructure division works in the roads, water and energy markets among others. It had an order book of £515M at the end of December 2013.


9.30am: Homes have been evacuated after yet another sink hole opens up, this time in Yorkshire.

The North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said it sent a fire engine and a heavy rescue unit out to deal with the 7.5m-wide hole under a residential property in Ripon on Monday evening.

“Severe structural damage was caused to one property and neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution,” said the fire service in a statement.

A sinkhole opened up in Hertfordshire last week, and on the M2 in Kent earlier this month.

Britain is on course for its wettest winter in 250 years.



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