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News in brief

Oxford University leads wind energy costs study; Lakes set to benefit from electrification; Blenheim Palace ups its renewables effort

Norton Bridge flyover works start
Preparatory works have begun to make way for a proposed new railway flyover at Norton Bridge.The flyover forms part of Network Rail’s £250M Stafford Area Improvements Programme that aims to remove a major bottleneckthat causes congestion on the West Coast Main Line. Plans include construction of a grade separated junction separating the paths of high speed trains from slower local services and freight traffic.

Balfour wins Midland Metro job
Balfour Beatty has won a contract to extend the Midland Metro by 1.4km through Birmingham’s city centre. The project will link Birmingham’s two major rail stations for Centro, the region’s transport authority. The contractor will work with its professional services division Parsons Brinckerhoff on the new £18.6M tramway.

Blenheim Palace set for renewables bid
World heritage site Blenheim Palace has announced a partnership with renewables firm Hallidays Hydropower to develop a micro-generation scheme. Initially the scheme will develope a £180,000 micro hydropower scheme on the River Glyme this autumn to generate enough power to generate 60,000kWh for the palace - almost three times as much as it currently produces from solar photovoltaics.

Lakes route set for electrification
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has outlined plans to electrify the Windermere branch rail line in Cumbria. The £16M scheme would convert 16km of track to increase reliability of trains between Kendal, Burneside, Stavely and Manchester by 2016.

Oxford leads wind energy cost reduction study
The University of Oxford is to lead research and development project to include Imperial College London and University College Dublin aimed at reducing the costs of energy from offshore wind turbines. The Pile Soil Analysis project will be carried out with an industry working group headed by Dong Energy and including RWE, Statoil, Statkraft, SSE, Scottish Power and Vattenfall. “We expect to find significant savings by trimming monopile sizes and finding new ways of installing the foundations, among others,” said Dong Energy Wind Power senior vice president Bent Christensen.

Cumbria flood roads receive £7M
Roads in Cumbria devastated by the 2009 floods are to receive £7.2M to help with funding repairs. Cumbria County Council will receive the funds to reinstate slopes, culverts and footways and bridges and improve drainage. The Department for Transport funding is its final allowance and adds to the £18M already paid for repairs.

National Grid CCS tests complete
National Grid has successfully completed test drilling of a North Sea carbon capture and storage site, which could hold 200M.t carbon permanently.

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