“EDF warns Hinkley nuclear plant could cost extra £2.9 billion, see more delays”

Note to our Local Enterprise Partnership:
1. Don’t whatever you do go for a day at the races and bet any money – your track record advises against it.
2. You have (and always have had) developers on your Board. Surely one of you could have tipped off EDF about “challenging ground conditions”!

“The British project cost hike also comes just days after the country saw an auction for offshore wind projects clear at a record low, raising questions of the cost competitiveness of new nuclear.

EDF said Hinkley Point C was estimated to cost 21.5-22.5 billion pounds ($26.8-$28 billion), up 1.9-2.9 billion pounds from its latest estimate. …

Crooks said the cost increase was related to challenging ground conditions at the site. …”


Bleak outlook for children in social housing

“Thousands of homeless children are growing up in cheaply converted shipping containers and cramped rooms in former office blocks; 130,000 families in England are being crammed into one-bedroom flats; and social housing residents of a block of flats in east London engulfed in flames say they are being forced to move back despite safety fears.

These are just a few recent examples of how the UK housing crisis is affecting the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. But how much notice is the prime minister, Boris Johnson, taking?

He has made spending pledges for the NHS and police, but there is little to suggest Johnson will address the UK’s shortage of truly affordable homes for rent. Housing expert Colin Wiles points out that during Johnson’s two terms as London mayor, he redefined the term “affordable” in 2011 to mean rents of up to 80% of market rents – extremely expensive in the capital. “Johnson’s philosophy, in a nutshell, is that homeowners mean Tory voters and social housing means Labour voters,” says Wiles. “Johnson in No 10 signals a gloomy outlook.” …”


Archant CEO leaves, 170 jobs go and printing to be done elsewhere

“The chief executive of one of Britain’s largest regional newspaper groups is to leave and 90 jobs are to go as the publisher stops printing its own titles after more than 170 years.

Norwich-based Archant, whose publications include Ham & High in London and the anti-Brexit New European, is to announce that Jeff Henry is to stand down after running the business for the last five years. The group’s chairman Simon Bax, a former top executive at Pixar who sits on the board of Channel 4, will take the role of executive chairman.

The company, which was co-founded in 1845 by mustard magnates the Colman family, has also decided to close its printing operation at Thorpe, just outside of Norwich, with the loss of about 90 jobs.

The closure of the site, which prints Archant’s four daily newspapers and virtually all of its 50 weekly ones, brings an end to the company printing titles locally.

It is understood that the printing of its newspapers is to be outsourced to News UK, publisher of the Sun and the Times. The combination of cost savings and commercial revenue from the seven-year deal makes the outsourcing move worth millions annually to Archant.

Since joining in 2014, Henry, a former senior ITV executive, has battled to replace the inexorable decline in sales and ad revenue from print with income from digital sources as well as events and exhibitions.

However, like its peers, Archant has struggled. Total revenues have fallen almost 30% in the last four years, from £122m in 2014 to £87.2m last year. Digital revenues are thought to be about £15m annually.

The strain local newspaper proprietors are facing can be seen in the sales decline of Archant’s flagship title, the 149-year old Eastern Daily Press. Sales in the UK’s biggest-selling morning regional newspaper have decreased by two-thirds since 2000, when its circulation stood at more than 75,000. Circulation has more than halved in the last decade to 25,600.

Last week, Archant announced a landmark three-year, multimillion pound deal with Google called Project Neon. This will focus on local digital news run by the publisher’s chief content officer, Matt Kelly.

The owners of Archant, which also publishes about 60 specialist and local magazine titles including London Bride and Pilot, have tentatively explored a potential sale of the business. Last year, talks were held with Newsquest, the UK’s second-biggest regional newspaper group, but they fizzled out.

The business is also a potential takeover target, or partner, for David Montgomery’s new publicly listed National World venture. The former Mirror group chief has assembled a team of executives – including Vijay Vaghela, a former finance chief at Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror – to “buy and build” a regional newspaper group. Montgjomery is also eyeing a bid for JPI Media, which owns titles including the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and the i, which is up for sale.

However, any potential buyer will have to deal with Archant’s pension deficit, which stands at about £30m. Archant sold its loss-making local TV station, Mustard TV, to That’s TV in 2017.”


“Extreme sea level events ‘will hit once a year by 2050’ “

“Extreme sea level events that used to occur once a century will strike every year on many coasts by 2050, no matter whether climate heating emissions are curbed or not, according to a landmark report by the world’s scientists.

The stark assessment of the climate crisis in the world’s oceans and ice caps concludes that many serious impacts are already inevitable, from more intense storms to melting permafrost and dwindling marine life.

But far worse impacts will hit without urgent action to cut fossil fuel emissions, including eventual sea level rise of more than 4 metres in the worst case, an outcome that would redraw the map of the world and harm billions of people.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and approved by its 193 member nations, says that “all people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean” and ice caps and glaciers to regulate the climate and provide water and oxygen. But it finds unprecedented and dangerous changes being driven by global heating.

Sea level rise is accelerating as losses from Greenland and Antarctica increase, and the ocean is getting hotter, more acidic and less oxygenated. All these trends will continue to the end of the century, the IPCC report said.

Half the world’s megacities, and almost 2 billion people, live on coasts. Even if heating is restricted to just 2C, scientists expect the impact of sea level rise to cause several trillion dollars of damage a year, and result in many millions of migrants.

“The future for low-lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak,” said Prof Jonathan Bamber at Bristol University in the UK, who is not one of the report’s authors. “But the consequences will be felt by all of us. There is plenty to be concerned about for the future of humanity and social order from the headlines in this report.”