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May 2005 - News from the UK

Timber frame construction news - environment, political and business in the community news

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Up-to-the-minute news from around the UK...updated as the news breaks!

Construction - Environment - Responsible Business - Economic Information

News: Timber Frame, Construction & Property News

  • Property group calls for mis-selling curbs
    (25 May 2005, Financial Times p1)
    Jim Pickard reports that ministers are failing to protect the public from "scandalous" mis-selling by some property schemes, property lenders warn today in a rare attack on their own industry. The British Property Federation is expected to say that existing arrangements to close down the syndicates that mis-sell are "insufficient" to protect consumers and the wider reputation of the industry.
    >> Read full story

  • Green Groups Attack New Planning Laws
    (10 May 2005, Green Building Press)
    Radical changes to planning laws under consideration by the Scottish Executive have been condemned by environmental organisations. The proposals would make it almost impossible to stop major developments such as nuclear power stations, waste dumps, airports and wind farms. If the schemes were deemed as having national strategic importance, it would no longer be possible to challenge the need for them at the inquiries.
    >> Read full story

  • Standard details for timber frame buildings
    (6 May 2005, TRADA)
    In response to requests from designs, contractors, housing providers and manufacturers, TRADA is developing a set of authoritative, comprehensive and independent standard details for timber frame buildings.
    >> Read full story
  • Construction industry under fire for failing to recruit women and ethnic minorities
    (3 May 2005, Guardian Education)
    Just 1% of bricklayers and labourers are female. Peter Kingston looks at efforts to change an industry which has, for so long, been stooped in tradition.
    >> Read full story

News: Environment, Climate & Attitudes

  • Industry chief’s environment plea
    (31 May 2005, BBC News)
    Some of Britain’s most influential business leaders have written to the prime minister demanding long-term policies to combat climate change are put in place. Business leaders from BP, Shell, HSBC Bank, BAA, John Lewis, Scottish Power and more all signed off the letter which stated the challenge of climate change needs serious investment by business. Businesses believe that they can achieve emission cuts of 60 per cent in the UK without damaging competitiveness if firms use energy more wisely and harness new technology.
    >> Read full story

  • Quarry operators slate green tax as perverse
    (26 May 2005, The Daily Telegraph Business + Jobs)
    Quarry operators slate green tax as perverse Roland Gribben writes that quarrying companies are stepping up the pressure on the Government to scrap a £350m- a-year production levy they say has failed to achieve its objectives of producing environmental improvements. The Quarry Products Association, which has Tarmac, Hanson and Lafarge among its leading members has challenged the chancellor to demonstrate environmental benefits and claims the tax has increased the production of untaxed goods such as shale.
    >> Read full story

  • Air travel mars UK’s green strategy
    (23 May 2005, Guardian p7)
    Figures from the Office of National Statistics published yesterday show that total UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 8.1% between 1990 and 2003, considerably less than the 13.4% fall claimed by the Department of the Environment.
    >> Read full story

  • Environmental bills welcome but do not go far enough
    (20 May 2005, EDIE)
    New legislation proposed for the next session of Parliament has received a mixed response from environmentalists.
    >> Read full story

  • North Sea fish on the move to cooler waters
    (13 May 2005, Guardian p9)
    Global warming has forced fish stocks in the North Sea scores of miles north to cooler waters, according to a study by climate change scientists reports Ian Sample. Major fish species including cod and haddock have sought cooler waters in response to a 1C rise in the temperature of the North Sea over the past 25 years. The shift in fish population has profound implications for fisheries which have already driven stocks to record lows, say researchers.
    >> Read full story

  • Car manufacturers failing to meet emissions pledge
    (11 May 2005, Financial Times, Companies & Markets p26)
    Europe’s carmakers improved fuel efficiency last year at only half the pace needed to fulfil a promise to the European Commission to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. James Mackintosh adds that provisional figures for CO2 emissions from new cars show the European industry produced an average efficiency of 160 grams per kilometre last year. Carmakers expected to meet the target of 140 g/km by 2008 will need to make an annual rate of improvement of 3.3 per cent.
    >> Read full story
  • ScottishPower and Co-op to build wind farm
    (10 May 2005, Guardian)
    David Ward reports that the Co-op have announced they are to build a wind farm on its estates in East Anglia as it prepares to enter the renewable energy business. The Co-op has teamed up with Scottish Power to erect eight wind turbines on one of its farms in Coldham, Cambridgeshire, with the completed scheme able to generate enough power for 10,000 homes.
    >> Read full story

  • Prescott Is Not Amused But Will Government Act?
    (10 May 2005, Green Building Press)
    The Government's environmental record is nothing to shout about, say campaign group Friends of the Earth. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott urged campaigners to look at the "ruddy facts" of the Government's environmental record. His comments came after an action by Greenpeace who placed solar panels on Mr Prescott's house.
    >> Read full story

  • Electioneering While CO2 Emmissions Rise
    (10 May 2005, Green Building Press)
    During an election campaign where the environment has been absent from the political agenda, carbon dioxide emissions will have risen by about 340,000 tonnes. This is equivalent to putting an extra 394,000 cars on the road in the 30 day election period alone. Despite telling the electorate that they will make significant progress on the key issues of the day, the politicians ignored the potential impacts of climate change on a number of issues.
    >> Read full story

  • Londoners leave huge footprints
    (6 May 2005, EDIE)
    London's Ecological Footprint is more than twice the size of Great Britain, which is a huge drain on the environment. Daniel Silverstone, Chief Executive of London Remade explains how if everyone lived as Londoners do, it would require three planet earths to support them.
    >> Read full story

  • Leaked document reveals 'draconian' planning powers
    (6 May 2005, EDIE)
    Leaked cabinet papers show Scottish Ministers intend to give themselves unprecedented powers making it virtually impossible for the public to object to major developments, according to Friends of the Earth (FoE).
    >> Read full story
  • Nuclear power could be cheaper low carbon alternative than renewables
    (3 May 2005, EDIE)
    Nuclear power could be the cheaper option for producing future UK energy needs while meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, a report has found.
    >> Read full story

News: Responsible Business and the Community

  • TUC attacks working hours ‘myths’
    (31 May 2005, BBC News)
    The TUC have rubbished the "myths" which it says surround the UK’s opt-out on EU working hour rules, reporting that Britain’s long hour’s culture is bad for workers’ health and harming productivity. The TUC estimate around 16 per cent of the UK labour force, some 3.9m, work more than 48 hours per week, which can increase the risk of a range of illnesses including heart disease and mental illness.
    >> Read full story

  • Suppliers to state face new green rules
    (26 May 2005, Financial Times p1)
    Companies hoping to supply the government will from next year be asked to demonstrate that their products and services are environmentally sound, under new standards for the £125bn spent annually on public sector procurement.
    >> Read full story
    >> Read how Benfield ATT meet Government Procurement Sustainability and Construction Guidelines

  • Employers gloomier over jobs outlook
    (17 May 2005, Financial Times p3)
    Andrew Taylor writes that employers have become so pessimistic about jobs prospects, that almost half expect to employ fewer people this time next year, according to a new study.
    >> Read full story

  • UK workers easiest to sack, says union
    (17 May 2005, Guardian p26)
    British workers are a soft touch for multinational employers seeking to cut jobs, according to one of Britain’s leading trade unions. Mark Milner adds that Amicus argues that workers rights are weaker in Britain than almost any other country in Europe, leaving workers more vulnerable. Derek Simpson, Amicus general secretary said, "In an increasingly global economy, multinational companies will always choose to make job cuts where it is cheaper, quicker and more politically expedient to sack."
    >> Read full story

  • Business fears 48-hour opt-out may end
    (10 May 2005, Financial Times p3)
    Andrew Taylor writes that Labour’s efforts to balance its business-friendly credentials with the demands of union backers will be tested this week when its MEPs vote on plans to end Britain’s opt-out from European rules on curbing working hours. Business leaders fear they will vote for amendments that would end the opt-out meaning that employers would not be able to ask employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
    >> Read full story

  • Another Day At The Hydrogen Powered Office
    (10 May 2005, Green Building Press)
    The world’s first office block powered by wind, rain and sun is to be built in Scotland in a bid to prove that eco-friendly energy can meet the needs of business. The fuel cells enable excess electricity to be stored in the form of hydrogen made from water - possibly collected in a rain barrel - and then used during dark, windless days.
    >> Read full story

  • New Zealand world first for carbon tax
    (6 May 2005, EDIE)
    New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a direct carbon tax to address the issues of global warming.
    >> Read full story
  • Wrigley sticks to its guns over gum drops
    (5 May 2005, Business p2, The Daily Telegraph)
    Richard Tyler reports that Wrigley, the maker of chewing gum is resisting demands from a number of local authorities to contribute to the cleaning of chewing gum off the streets. Instead the company has said it favours making a contribution to a fund being organised by DEFRA to pay for public awareness campaigns and initiatives.
    >> Read full article

  • Report reveals tobacco scandal behind greenwash
    (3 May 2005, EDIE)
    One of the world's biggest tobacco companies has been hiding the damage it does to health, development and the environment behind a mask of "corporate social responsibility", according to a report.
    >> Read full story

News: Finance & Economy

  • Pay scheme reviews deemed inadequate
    (3 May 2005, Financial Times p4)
    Andrew Taylor reports that a survey by Incomes Data Services, the pay consultancy shows that businesses that have adopted "contribution based" or performance related pay schemes believed them to be successful but have never reviewed their effectiveness. IDS warned that performance –related pay schemes did not always deliver expected results.
    >> Read full story

Feature Article of the Month - Builder & Engineer Magazine; Timber Frame Supplement

Seasonal, 2005

Expert Viewpoint: Dr Michael Benfield

Dr Michael Benfield is one of the leading Timber Frame Construction Experts. He spoke to Builder & Engineer about how the Construction of more Timber-based buildings will help meet the ambitious carbon emission targets set by the Government...

Builder & Engineer Magazine Timber Frame Supplement

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