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Deputy justice minister for Scotland Angus Mackay has cut the first sod on contractor Balfour Beatty's first Private Finance Initiative job in Scotland. Construction work on the £27M Strathclyde Police training centre at East Kilbride began on Tuesday.

A joint venture of consultants Arup and Scott Wilson is to carry out the Tyneside Area Multi-modal Study for the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions. The study will look at congestion and safety problems on the trunk road network in the area and propose solutions.

The Environment Agency has received a generally positive response to plans to extend the public consultation process for significant environmental licence applications 'where there is public concern'. Some businesses, trade and professional associations voiced reservations that lengthier procedures could increase costs.

Best practice in steel construction will be listed in a new electronic database to be developed by the Steel Construction Institute using a £580,000 grant from the Department of Trade & Industry. The total £3.6M project will be carried out in conjunction with similar bodies in Finland, France and Spain, as a Europe wide scheme.

The National Topographic Database is being re-engineered by the Ordnance Survey in conjunction with the eXcelon Corporation. The computerised master map for Britain will be given an object-oriented storage and retrieval system.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will carry out master planning for three major airports in the USA, Louisville International, Kentucky, Sacramento International, California and Pittsburgh International in Pennsylvania.

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