Industrial discord spreads to Land Registry

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Self-storage + roadside: Caisson boxes clever

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Servomex Integrated Solutions delivers complete solutions for plant projects

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Suretank and First Subsea to transport new PRTs

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Air Liquide and Additive Industries launch partnership

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Fugro takes delivery of newbuild ‘Fugro Americas’

first_imgFugro has taken delivery of the Fugro Americas, a newbuild shallow draft survey vessel, on March 18, 2015.Custom designed to Fugro’s specifications, the vessel is fitted with the latest geophysical survey equipment and houses some of the most advanced instrumentation in the field, Fugro said.According to the company, the Fugro Americas is optimised for working in the Gulf of Mexico, but she is also suitable for other geographical areas, being permanently mobilised and available for rapid deployment to locations throughout North and South America as well as the Caribbean.The 59 metre-long vessel is capable of carrying out a wide range of offshore services including high resolution geophysical and light geotechnical surveys in water depths of up to 4,500 metres. Fugro Americas is built to operate Fugro’s new 4,500 metre-rated Hugin 1000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), Echo Surveyor VII, which was delivered in December 2014. Specialist equipment on the new survey vessel includes a dynamic positioning system and survey systems, including a deep water EM302 multibeam echosounder to be used for gas seep surveys.The Fugro Americas was built by Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors in Louisiana, with supervision by Fugro Marine Services.last_img read more

PCT plans risk creating a system of state-sponsored miscarriages of justice

first_img Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP is shadow lord chancellor and justice secretary In these straitened economic times, savings must be found across the whole criminal justice system. But with the dust barely settled on the advice deserts created by the government’s brutal cuts to civil legal aid, ministers are now seeking further reductions. This time the target is criminal legal aid. It is right that those who can afford to pay legal fees should do so, leaving legal aid reserved for those most in need. Wealthy criminals should fund their costs from frozen assets. However, public confidence in our justice system is crucial, so we must guard against proposals that risk damaging its integrity. Our lord chancellor has different priorities – demonstrating to his right-wing backbenchers his credentials as a budget-slasher, rather than his determination to uphold the rule of law. He has presented his proposals as if they are somehow consequence-free. There is no assessment of costs likely to be displaced on to other parts of the legal system, or that tendering to a smaller number of large providers will affect the nature of provision, meaning more centrally commissioned monopolies. Nor does the loss of a localised service – the benefits of which include strong working relationships with local courts, police and the CPS – warrant any regret. And the prospect of the same companies running our prisons, prisoner transfers, probation services and legal representation – a situation that would be a serious conflict of interest, and must be avoided– is likewise ignored. Lawyers are trained to look for evidence to support their case, yet there is little to support government claims of ‘savings’. The consultation document is an embarrassment, lacking a breakdown of how ‘savings’ are calculated. In fact, it has taken parliamentary questions that I tabled for ministers to admit that ‘in order to ensure the price competition delivers a saving to the legal aid fund, we are proposing to set up a price cap at 17.5% below the rates paid in 2012/13… which is expected to ensure savings of £118m per annum’. So most of the savings come by simply slicing 17.5% from the budget. It remains to be seen whether the fees cut will make it all but impossible for most local providers to remain viable, an outcome which would be used by the government as a vindication of purchasing in bulk from larger providers. The justice secretary routinely characterises criminal legal aid solicitors and junior criminal barristers as ‘fat-cat’ lawyers. One might argue such behaviour is not befitting of a lord chancellor, but Chris Grayling grasps that the legal profession has an image problem and means to exploit it in the media. Removing an individual’s liberty is one of the most important powers in the gift of the state. Properly administered legal aid means all individuals charged with a criminal offence are represented and ensures our country’s precious rule of law applies to everybody. Legal aid helps those wrongly accused maintain their innocence and ensures the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt the case against a defendant. Many miscarriages of justice in this country happened because of an absence of proper representation, and legal aid also ensures victims have confidence the genuine perpetrators of crimes are prosecuted and punished. No one wants a second-rate system where you are forced to accept whatever representation you are given regardless of quality. Grayling’s proposals will see the quantity of proceedings as the primary driver. Ignoring the quality of representation is a mistake as it may lead to increased pressure to plead guilty – regardless of whether the individual committed the crime – creating a system of state-sponsored miscarriages of justice. The legal system cannot be insulated from pressure on the public purse. But I do not want a legal system with its integrity undermined. Instead, we need an urgent strategic review looking at the system in its entirety – from charge to prosecution to verdict – to examine whether our current system is fit for future challenges, rooting out inefficiency and bureaucracy. Confidence in the justice system is precarious at the best of times. It is far too precious to allow it to be undermined by ill-thought through, dogmatic proposals.last_img read more

Strategic Transport Plan for northern England published

first_imgUK: Transport for the North has published its draft 30-year Strategic Transport Plan for northern England, outlining a ‘revolutionary investment programme’ running to 2050 which is intended to drive growth and close the economic gap between the north and the rest of England.TfN is overseen by 19 regional transport authorities, and the Strategic Transport Plan was launched on January 16 with six parallel events in locations across the north. ‘For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the north fulfils its potential’, said TfN Chairman John Cridland. ‘Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high quality jobs. This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the north and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment.’CorridorsSeven broad strategic development corridors are identified (see map). East Coast to Scotland and West & Wales would be rail based, four corridors would be multi-modal schemes, and Yorkshire to Scotland would be road.Northern Powerhouse Rail Alongside the strategic development corridors, TfN outlines its ‘emerging vision’ for Northern Powerhouse Rail (see map). This would be a network of ‘rapid, reliable and resilient’ rail services linking the north’s six biggest cities and other economic centres including Manchester Airport, putting 1·3 million people within 60 min of four or more major cities. TfN and the Department for Transport expect to complete a strategic outline business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail by the end of 2018.Northern Powerhouse Rail would be developed in stages, using existing infrastructure, currently planned investment including High Speed 2, and proposed new lines and significant enhancements. The proposal includes:A new line between Liverpool and the HS2 Manchester Spur via Warrington;Capacity at Manchester Piccadilly for around eight through services per hour;A new Trans-Pennine rail line connecting Manchester and Leeds via Bradford;Significant enhancements on the existing Hope Valley line from Sheffield to Manchester via Stockport;Leeds to Sheffield delivered through HS2 Phase 2B and upgrading of the route from Sheffield;Leeds to Newcastle via an HS2 junction and upgrades to the East Coast Main Line;Significant enhancements to the existing lines from Leeds to Hull via Selby and Sheffield to Hull via Doncaster.TfN will assesses various options for Liverpool – Manchester, Manchester – Sheffield, and Manchester – Leeds services. It is exploring options for short-term improvements on the Hope Valley corridor between Sheffield and Manchester, and whether ‘transformational’ journey time improvements could be achieved on the existing corridor or whether a new line would be required. Great North Rail ProjectNorthern Powerhouse Rail would build on infrastructure manager Network Rail’s ongoing Great North Rail Project upgrading programme. Completed and current projects under GNRP include North West electrification, West Yorkshire signalling improvements, the Ordsall Chord, Liverpool City Region upgrades, Manchester Victoria station refurbishment and modernisation of the Calder Valley route which links Manchester and Bradford. It also includes station improvements at Manchester Oxford Road and Salford Central, as well as platform capacity enhancements at Manchester Piccadilly.GNRP also includes the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade for which TfN is seeking a firm government commitment in early 2018, with a view to improvements being in place from 2022. In July 2017 Secretary of State for Transport Chris Graying said the government was considering options other than full electrification of the trans-Pennine route from Stalybridge near Manchester to Leeds, York and Selby, because sections ‘built in Victorian times’ would be ‘very difficult’ to electrify and the use of electro-diesel traction would be less complicated.TfN says in its strategic plan that it is ‘committed to electrification where it delivers benefits, but will also take advantage of new technology to improve journeys’. The plan adds that ‘although an important scheme’, the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade ‘cannot deliver the transformation in journey times and capacity that TfN is seeking for the longer term, therefore this programme is an essential strong baseline for future investment’.In the shorter term, TfN has launched a rolling Integrated & Smart Travel ticketing programme which will start this year with the roll-out of smart ticketing for rail season ticket holders in major cities and on the busiest routes. High Speed 2TfN says High Speed 2 is a central part of its rail proposition, and it wants to work with project promoter HS2 Ltd to ensure that the design of Phase 2 is refined to improve integration with Northern Powerhouse Rail. This would include the use of HS2 infrastructure by Northern Powerhouse Rail services, development of an integrated hub at Crewe, and strengthening of cross-border links with north Wales.TfN proposes junctions with HS2 in the Leeds area, Cheshire, at Manchester Piccadilly to serve either an underground Northern Powerhouse Rail hub or a surface turn-back station, and at Clayton to enable trains to run through Sheffield and re-join HS2 to Leeds.Long-term Rail StrategyAn updated Long-term Rail Strategy for the North has been published alongside the Strategic Transport Plan, outlining priorities for investment in lines, stations, services and operations to deliver greater connectivity, capacity and cost-effectiveness. CostTfN estimates the cost of the 30-year plan at less than £150 per resident per year, which it said would be £50 per person per year above spending which is already expected. Following the consultation period, a final version of the plan will be published later in the year and submitted to the government for ministerial consideration. TfN is due to become England’s first statutory sub-national transport body at the beginning of April, ensuring that its plans are formally considered by government when taking decisions about transport investment in the northern England.last_img read more

Police in Burkina Faso stage nationwide protests against corruption

first_imgPolice in Burkina Faso have staged peaceful demonstrations against corruption and a lack of transparency among their leaders, The Associated Press reports.According to one protest leader Patrice Sanou, this is the first in a series of the protests and that more would follow.There have been tensions within the country’s police forces in recent months and the police union has warned authorities about unfair treatment and pay among those guarding private buildings including banks, mining companies and hotels.The union is asking for written contracts with companies who hire the police.The recent rise in fears over extremist attacks in the region is another source of pressure on police in this West African nation.last_img read more

Julius Malema blasts Trump over tweet on farmer killings

first_imgSouth Africa’s Julius Malema on the spot over ‘racist’ remarks South Africa’s firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema has blasted US President Donald Trump for his tweet on South African land reforms.The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader said he expected Trump’s reaction, but that his country must continue with the expropriation of land without compensation.“Donald Trump is not saying anything new we haven’t heard from white people. I don’t have time for nonsense. I expected it,” Malema said.“Britain will come for us and EU will come for us. For everything good comes the pain before. Donald Trump hasn’t said anything painful. The pain is still to come. They will kill us for this.”Trump’s tweet read; “I have asked Secretary of State Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018In his response, Malema also fired back by saying that “There’s no white genocide here. It’s absolute rubbish to say there’s white genocide. There’s black genocide in the USA. They’re killing black people in the USA.”Malema’s party has been pushing hard for land reforms – and now the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is also pushing ahead with plans to expropriate land without compensation.Related South Africa responds to incorrect Trump tweet on land reform plan South African politician Julius Malema to answer corruption chargeslast_img read more