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Just 20km of porous asphalt has been laid in Britain since 1995 Highways Agency chief executive Peter Nutt said this week. Answering a Parliamentary Question for the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions he said that proprietary quiet thin surfacings and 'whisper concrete' had displaced porous asphalt as they were cheaper and had better performance.

Restrictions on building new gas fired power stations will be lifted in October, Trade & Industry secretary Stephen Byers told Parliament this week. The decision coincides with the introduction of new, anti-market distortion electricity trading arrangements. Restrictions were imposed 18 months ago to 'produce a level playing field' while energy industry reforms were made.

Unrest in Zimbabwe does not appear to have affected civil engineering works according to Elias Ndlovu, vice president of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers. 'The only way engineers have been affected is through the fuel shortages,' he told NCE. The Department for International Development said it was monitoring the situation but had no plans to suspend assistance programs.

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