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Prime minister Tony Blair and Russian president Vladimir Putin last week lent their backing to construction of a £5.7bn north European gas pipeline. Starting at Vyborg near St Petersburg it would transport Russian gas to mainland Europe and eventually the UK. The project will face competition from a pipeline connecting Balgzand in Holland to Bacton on the east coast of England, which is being designed by consultant Mott Macdonald for Dutch gas firm Gasunie.

Hugh Collis, independent transport consultant and former Arup associate director, died last Friday after returning from a business trip to Prague.

Collis spent the majority of his career with Arup's transport planning and economics department but left to pursue his own business in December 2001. Details of a memorial service will be announced shortly.

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