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IN DEPTH

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NCE Live News Updates Tuesday 28 January: Mersey Gateway on the hunt for staff

So far up this morning, the mega-project that is the Mersey Gateway bridge is on the look out for staff; meanwhile flood warnings remain in place…

4.30pm: Transport for London has awarded Laing O’Rourke a £22M contract to upgrade facilities at Willesden, in North West London.

The infrastructure project is part of the London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme (LOCIP). The upgrade will be carried out for the rail maintenance and stabling facilities in the Willesden area, in addition to platform extensions and a major rail junction remodeling to Willesden low level to enable increased train lengths from four to five cars to be implemented.

 

3.45pm: Ness Cove at Shaldon in Devon has reopened after work to repair a cliff fall was completed.4

Engineers have been on-site daily to clear rubble and patch up the cliff face after the popular beach suffered a landslip on Boxing Day.

The fall happened following a period of heavy rain and affected the Smugglers Tunnel access steps we meant the beach had to be closed.

Contractors cleared soil, re-graded the bank and put in place a section of rock netting to ensure the cliff face stays as safe as possible. This work was completed on Friday with the beach reopened yesterday.

 

3.30pm: Plans for the expansion of Franklin’s Gardens rugby stadium have today been approved by Northampton Borough Council.

Northampton Saints submitted a full planning application at the end of October for a new North Stand that will see the total capacity of Franklin’s Gardens increase 20% to over 15,500.

The new North Stand will include over 2,100 seats, 10 hospitality boxes, a 270-capacity hospitality suite, and a new ground floor members’ bar, along with facilities for disabled supporters. The development will also see an increase in the stadium’s media facilities and a new TV gantry.

The new North Stand is being funded by a £5.5M loan facilitated by Northampton Borough Council, which will be repaid by the club. Additional funds were raised by the sale of shares in Northampton Rugby Football Club that had been held in trust on behalf of the old Members’ Club.

 

11.50am: Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme has issued a statement responding to programme director Andy Mitchell’s decision to leave the project to become chief executive of the delivery organisation of the £4.1bn Thames Tideway Tunnel scheme.

“Andy Mitchell joined Crossrail in 2009 as Programme Director and has successfully led the programme team from the start of full construction. Andy will leave Crossrail in great shape, over halfway to programme completion with the end of major civils in sight and a team fully engaged on delivering stations fit-out and the transition to an operational railway,” said Wolstenholme. “Thames Tideway will be the UK’s next major tunnelling project and will benefit greatly from Andy’s significant programme and engineering expertise.”

10.50am: The £600M Mersey Gateway mega-project has launched a search for hundreds of staff.

The project is set to start construction in earnest this spring and is seeking project managers, site managers, section managers, procurement and commercial managers, quantity surveyors, general and section foremen, M&E engineers, site engineers, land surveyors, buyers, materials engineers, planners, project and cost controllers and administration staff.

Merseylink Civil Contractors is the consortium named as the preferred bidder by Halton Borough Council for the contract to build the new Mersey Gateway bridge over the river between Runcorn and Widnes in the North West of England. The consortium, which comprises Kier, FCC Construccion Samsung, has started a drive to recruit a number of key positions within the early delivery team.

“This will be one of the largest civil engineering projects in Europe over the next three and a half years, and I’m confident we will be able to bring together highly motivated staff to take the project to fruition,” said Merseylink project director Steve Cardwell. “Delivering a project of such magnitude, which will bring clear benefits to local communities and the region as a whole, requires the strongest possible team. At our peak we will be employing more than 500 people to work on the project.”

The cable stay bridge, which will provide a major new strategic transport route in the North West of England, is scheduled for completion in 2017.

 

10.45am: Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker has revealed the latest funding for British energy efficiency entrepreneurs

Small and medium size enterprises within the energy efficiency, building technologies, power generation and energy storage sectors are invited to bid for funding of up to £2M under the Government’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.

Winning state of the art technologies will focus on bringing down the cost of consumer bills and reducing carbon emissions.

Applications will be assessed by engineering and technical experts across government and industry, as well as a commercial panel of low carbon investment professionals. Bids will be judged against a range of criteria including the ability to cut the cost of existing technologies, future carbon savings and commercial viability.

This is the third phase of funding to be awarded by the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. In the first phase, launched in September 2012, 31 companies were awarded grants of a total value of £16M. The second phase, launched in June 2013, resulted in 20 companies receiving grant offers totalling £9M.

 

10.30am: The Environment Agency this morning has 14 flood warnings in place – most of them in the South West.

The head of the Environment Agency this morning defended its handling of the floods to the BBC. Lord Smith said its staff have “worked their socks off” over the past two months.

But the Agency is facing criticism that it has failed to dredge rivers to protect the Somerset Levels, which have been badly hit by flooding.

The National Farmers Union in the South West says the floods have left farmers in a state of “utter despair”.

Keep track of the latest developments with the Agency’s live update below.