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NCE Daily News Thursday 24 April: Liverpool FC stadium plans unveiled; councils urged to bid for pothole cash

Champions elect give more detail of proposals to redevelop Anfield; extra government funding to fix more than three million potholes

Construction has begun on a £50M flood defence scheme in Leeds.

Gates will be built to control the flow of the river Aire; an island between the river and a canal will be removed; and raised defences will be created.

The project will protect more than 150 businesses and reduce the potential disruption of flooding for 3,000 city centre flats.

Leeds City Council and the private sector have contributed to the cost of the scheme, alongside £35M from central government.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson said: “In addition to protecting existing homes and businesses we expect to see a substantial number of new jobs created in Leeds over the next 10 years so it is vital we invest in infrastructure to protect the area.

“We are spending more than ever before to protect our economy from the risk of flooding and this new defence will do exactly that.”

 

Milton Keynes firm Conergy is to build a 37MWp solar plant in Oxfordshire.

The firm will create the 144,000-panel plant at Kencot Hill for energy firm RWE.

Once connected later this year, plant will produce enough electricity to power 10,000 homes, with the majority used locally.

The zero carbon power station will emit about 380,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide over the next 24 years than the current average National Grid energy mix.

Conergy chief executive for Europe Alexander Gorski said: “We are proud to have been selected by RWE for its first solar project in the UK, which will be one of the largest in the country.”

 

More than £30bn could be spent over the next 18 years on shale gas extraction, according to a report.

Getting Ready For UK Shale Gas, by trade body the UK Onshore Operators Group, said £33bn may be required to bring 4,000 wells into production for the activity.

It said 64,500 jobs would be created in the fledgling industry over that period.

The steel industry could benefit to the tune of £2.3bn; rig manufacturers £1.6bn. Some £17bn could be spent on specialised equipment and skills for hydraulic fracturing operations.

Energy minister Michael Fallon backed the report’s findings.

“Shale gas has the potential to kickstart a whole new industry, building on the world-leading expertise the UK already has in the energy sector. There will be significant opportunities across the steel, manufacturing and engineering industries as shale develops,” he said.

“This government is fully committed to ensuring the UK not only benefits from the energy security shale gas could provide but also maximising the economic benefit across the country. It’s time to get ready for shale.”

 

Councils are being invited to bid for a share of a £168M Pothole Fund to repair local roads, making them safer and smoother for motorists, cyclists and other road users.

Successful local authorities will sign a pothole pledge as a condition of the funding, setting out the number of potholes they will have repaired by March 2015.

The £168M fund, announced in chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget statement, is enough to fix more than three million potholes. It is in addition to the £10bn for local roads maintenance that the Department for Transport is already providing to councils in England between 2010 and 2021.

The guidance for the application process for local authorities is now available on the GOV.UK website. Councils have until 4pm on Thursday 22 May to submit a bid to the Department for Transport. A track record of best practice or proposals for innovative solutions will be recognised as part of the bidding process, potentially resulting in increased funding for those councils.

 

The hard shoulder of a southern section of the M25 will be open to traffic permanently from next week.

Drivers will be able to use the extra lane between junctions 5 and 7 of the London orbital motorway from Wednesday 30 April.

This follows the move earlier this month to allow the hard shoulder to be used between junctions 23 and 25 in Hertfordshire.

Improved technology will be used in both sections to improve traffic flow.

Highways Agency senior project manager John Martin said: “The new smart motorway will provide extra capacity and offer more reliable journeys for the 140,000 drivers that use this stretch of road every day.

“I’m particularly pleased that the southern section of the M25 has opened well ahead of planned completion this winter thanks to rescheduling of the programme.”

 

Liverpool Football Club has given further insight into its plans to expand its famous Anfield stadium.

The Merseyside club, on course for its first Premier League title, set out detailed proposals for a development of the Main Stand, as well as outline proposals for enlargement of the Anfield Road Stand.

Exhibitions are being held this week as the club gears up to submit a planning application in the summer.

An extra 8,500 seats in the Main Stand, and 4,800 in the Anfield Road Stand, would take Anfield’s capacity to almost 59,000.

Liverpool FC managing director Ian Ayre said: “In order to move forward with our expansion plans we need to have certainty that we can navigate the complex planning process and secure the support of the community, local home owners, businesses and other key stakeholders. This consultation exercise is an important part of this process.”

Subject to planning, construction work on the Main Stand could begin early next year and be complete by summer 2016.

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