Yorkshire Water tenders £20m PV solar power framework contract

Yorkshire Water has gone out to tender with a framework contract for the supply of PV solar power which could potentially be worth up to £20 million.

The framework is for the supply of PV solar power to a number of Yorkshire Water sites throughout the Yorkshire region. The agreement will be facilitated through Power Purchase Agreements on Yorkshire Water land or 3rd party land.

Estimated total value of the contract has been put in a range between £500,000 to £20 million.

Time limit for receipt of requests for documents or for accessing documents is 12th December 2016



Improvements to M1 junction revealed

Most of the work will take place overnight to avoid lane closures during the day and to minimise delays.

The second part of a £7m project to reduce congestion and manage traffic flow at the M1 Junction 22 roundabout and the A42 junction 13 roundabout begins next January.

Improvements will be made to the A511, A512 and A42 junction 13 Flagstaff Roundabout near Ashby ahead of expected higher traffic levels from new housing developments in the area.

Most of the work will take place overnight to avoid lane closures during the day and to minimise delays. Any daytime work is scheduled to take place during off peak times.

The Leicestershire County Council project which is partly funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) Local Growth Deal includes:

• Permanent traffic lights to manage traffic flow

• Widening of the carriageway to increase the number of lanes to major routes

• Improved shared use cycle and pedestrian links between Coalfield Way and Lountside

• The replacing of existing safety barriers at various locations

• Resurfacing of part of the slip road from the A42

Coun Peter Osborne, cabinet member for highways, said: “This is a major investment in improving a very busy junction in the area. The improvements being made should greatly ease congestion around the Ashby De La Zouch/Coalville areas, helping drivers to avoid delays now and in the future, as Leicestershire continues to develop its offer to residents and businesses.

“The works, which will be completed in July 2017, have been planned to ease increased traffic levels expected from a growing economy.”

Local residents and businesses have been informed about the works which are expected to last for a six-month period.

Leicestershire County Council, the preferred contractor Eurovia and Highways England are working together to distribute additional information. Further details will be provided over the coming months.

The improvements were requested through the planning process by Highways England to accommodate the increased traffic levels at intersections with the A42 junction 13 and M1 junction 22 in Leicestershire.

Works to provide traffic signals and extra lanes at the M1 junction 22 roundabout with the A511 and A50 were completed in autumn 2016.



Severn Trent sets out £60m sewer plans for Newark

Severn Trent Water is holding its latest public drop-in session today to give local residents in Newark the opportunity to learn more about their £60 million improvement plans.

The water company has begun work on the project which will see a large new tunnel installed beneath the town to help prevent sewer flooding at homes and businesses.

A major part of the £60 million scheme will see the construction of a tunnel underneath Newark to Severn Trent’s Crankley Point Sewage Treatment Works. Work is already underway to prepare a shaft for the tunnel.

Severn Trent’s programme manager, Tim Sawyer explained:

“We’ve been doing a lot of work with residents and businesses in Newark to make them aware of the work that we’re doing.”

“Hopefully by now everyone will know how vital this work is to help prevent sewer flooding and provide the town with a reliable water supply for the future.

“We’re holding this drop-in session so residents can come along and find out more about the upcoming work in their local area and how it may affect them. We’re also really keen to get their input – this is a massive project for us and Newark so it’s important we get it right for everyone.”

Severn Trent and their contract partners, BNM Alliance, will be available from 2pm – 7.30pm to talk to attendees.

Further drop-in sessions will be arranged in the future.

England’s most dangerous roads to receive £175million safety upgrade

Routes targeted include the A588 in Lancashire, the A529 in Shropshire, the A4 in Slough and the A285 in West Sussex – named Britain’s most persistently high-risk road.

England’s most dangerous roads are to get a £175million funding boost to improve safety.

About 50 roads with the highest risk of fatal and serious crashes will be upgraded under the Department for Transport (DfT) plan.

The announcement was welcomed by motoring groups, who warned that the number of people killed on Britain’s roads has not been significantly reduced since 2011.

Last year saw 1,730 deaths and 22,144 people seriously injured.

Among the routes targeted is the A285 in West Sussex, where a stretch between Chichester and Petworth was identified by the Road Safety Foundation charity as Britain’s most persistently high-risk road.

Other dangerous roads to undergo safety improvements include the A588 in Lancashire, the A529 in Shropshire and the A4 in Slough.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “After decades of progress in cutting deaths, the number of fatalities has been stubbornly stuck at around 1,750 for the past few years.

“It is therefore very welcome that public money will be available for those councils who come up with credible plans for improving the 50 most risky roads.”

A spokeswoman for the Road Safety Foundation said: “We welcome this firm commitment to tackle high-risk roads. Infrastructure safety measures are quick to implement, can be done anywhere in the country and are certain to deliver.”

The DfT also announced details of several other projects that are part of £3billion of investment in England’s roads.

They include £925million to tackle congestion and provide upgrades on local roads, £220million to combat congestion on motorways and major A roads, six major local transport schemes and the allocation of £70million for 2017/18 to fix potholes.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a government that steps up, not back, which is why we are investing record amounts into improving our roads across the country.

“This investment is over and above the £23billion we are spending to get motorists to their destinations quickly, more easily and safely.

“The schemes are focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future – removing the barriers to help make an economy that works for everyone.”

Mr Grayling visited Cambridgeshire on Monday to witness the start of building work on the £1.5billion A14 upgrade, which will see a new 21-mile road between Huntingdon and Cambridge.

He said: “The A14 is a vital road for Cambridgeshire and for the rest of the country, helping link people and businesses to jobs, opportunities and families. This new upgrade will see quicker journeys, which will also be more reliable and safe.”

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, described the route as “one of the most important east-to-west road links in the country”.



Lewisham flooding: Homes left without water after sinkhole opens and town centre left submerged

Parts of Lewisham town centre remained closed and homes were left without water on Sunday morning after a sinkhole opened up due to “major” flooding.

Lee High Road remained closed between Loampit Vale and Manor Park while many homes in the surrounding area were left without water after a large mains pipe burst on Saturday afternoon.

In a statement on Thames Water website the company said repairs were “complicated and taking longer than normal”.

Transport for London (TfL) said 18 bus routes were on diversion on Sunday morning with no excessive delays.

Police declared a “major incident” on Saturday cordoning off the roads with residents being told to avoid Lewisham town centre.

The coach which fell into the sinkhole on Sunday morning

The sinkhole opened on Lee High Road after surrounding roads were flooded with inches of fast-flowing water.

A temporary shelter was set up on Bonfield Road for people displaced from homes due to the flooding.

Footage showed an ambulance and buses tentatively trying to drive through the water, before the road was closed in both directions.

Flooded: The streets of Lewisham under water (@SeanDavis_)

And pictures shared on social media show a coach stranded in the water after its wheels fell into the sinkhole.

London Fire Brigade were at the scene to rescue passengers from the coach.

A spokeswoman for Thames Water said : “We’re very sorry to customers in SE3 experiencing problems with their water supply as a result of our burst water pipe on Lee High Road. We have a large team on site working hard to get things back to normal for those affected and we hope to have supplies restored by the end of the day.

Stranded: The roads have been shut off to vehicles (Met Police)

“We’re arranging for bottled water to be brought to the area and details of collection points will be available on our website shortly. We’ve also contacted vulnerable customers.”

“We’ll begin the repair to the pipe as soon as we can.”

A Lewisham Council spokesman said: “Our staff have been at the scene of the incident since yesterday evening supporting emergency services, Thames Water and Transport for London.

The area was cordoned off by police (@SeanDavis_)

“The council set up a shelter for anyone displaced by the incident, namely the tourists that were on the coach. But they were able to continue their journey without needing to stay over night.

“We will be continuing to monitor and support where needed as this incident continues. It is still too early to say when the road will re-open.”

Highways England confirm overnight closures for roadworks on A500 and M6

Roadworks are planned on two major roads in North Staffordshire over the next week – according to the Highways Agency.

Both the M6 and A500 will be closed for long period while work including drainage work and carriageway work takes place.

Although many of the closures are overnight there is still a risk of disruption to motorists while the diversions are in place.

Motorists are advised to check their route before travelling – particularly overnight.

A spokesman for Highways England said all the work was subject to change due to factors such as the weather and other unforeseen circumstances.

He said: “All our improvement work is carried out with the aim of causing as little disruption as possible.”

A500 – A5006 from Michelin roundabout and A500 northbound sideway slip road: material deliveries

Northbound carriageway and slip road closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 28 November until 4 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

A500 – Alsagar to Talke: drainage work

Southbound carriageway closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 28 November until 4 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 15 entry slip: carriageway work

Northbound entry slip closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 28 November until 3 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 15 to junction 16: carriageway work

Northbound carriageway closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 28 November until 3 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 11 entry slip: bridge inspections

Southbound entry slip closed overnight for one night from 9pm 29 November until 6am the following morning (30 November). A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 12 entry slip to junction 13: carriageway work

Northbound carriageway and entry slip road closed overnight for one night from 8pm 30 November until 6am the following morning (1 December). A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 16 entry slip: carriageway work

Southbound entry slip closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 2 December until 4 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

M6 – junction 16 to junction 15: carriageway work

Southbound carriageway closed overnight between 8pm and 6am from 2 December until 4 December. A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

Source: http://www.highwaysindustry.com/highways-england-confirm-overnight-closures-for-roadworks-on-a500-and-m6/



Environment Agency awards £10m South East MEICA framework contract

The Environment Agency has awarded its South East Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation framework contract worth an estimated £10 million

The Environment Agency needs to maintain its Flood and Coastal Risk Management (FCRM), Navigation and other sites and assets. Services to be provided under the contract include delivery of mechanical and electrical preventative and reactive maintenance, repair, overhaul, breakdown, general engineering services, refurbishments and project work. The work is needed for a range assets, including pumping stations, weirs, sluice gates, telemetry outstations and other water control structures.

The framework agreement consists of a single lot covering routine planned preventative maintenance, provision of a 24 hour 365 day reactive works service and project works.

Main place of performance is predominantly in counties in the south east England, together with London and Greater London.

The framework has been awarded for an initial period of 2 years with options to extend for up to a further 2 years.

Integrated Water Services Ltd, ECS Engineering Services Ltd and Amalgamated Construction Ltd have all been awarded a place on the framework, three of 11 firms who bid for the work.

Moment a motorway bridge comes crashing down in controlled demolition

A 2,500 tonne motorway bridge was brought crumbling down in a controlled explosion which has been captured on video.

The M3 in Surrey was closed from 9pm on Friday and Highways England brought down The Woodlands Lane Bridge in the early hours of this morning.

According to local newspaper Get Surrey the Highways England, who have been carrying out improvements on the road for months, called it a “controlled collapse” as the bridge fell onto the road below at 5am.

The rubble was kept in one place by a protective layer that also prevented damage to the road surface below.

Workman can be seen looking on at the spectacle before starting work to remove the rubble around the clock with aims to re-open the road on Monday.

According to the Highways Agency, the M3 will remain shut between junction 2 for the M25 and junction 3 for Bagshot and Lightwater until Monday at 5.30am, but signed diversions are in place.

A new bridge will be built in its place as the upgrading of the M3 to a smart motorway continues.

The work is due to be completed by winter 2017/18 costing around £174million.

Highways Agency confirms on its website: ‘We are currently making improvements to the M3 by constructing a smart motorway between junctions 2 and 4a.

‘This section of the M3 is used over 130,000 vehicles a day and sees higher than normal levels of congestion at peak times.’ 


Why driverless cars will be safer than human drivers

Automakers and tech companies are racing to get the first self-driving car on the road.

Ford, GM, Tesla, Lyft, Google, and more all have plans to have some form of autonomous car ready for commercial use within the next five years. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2030 driverless cars could make up as much as 60% of US auto sales, according to Goldman Sachs.

While companies all have their own reasons for investing in this technology, they all agree that one of the biggest benefits of autonomous cars will be improved safety.

How, might you ask, is a car with no human driver, no steering wheel, and no brake pedal safer than the cars we currently drive?

Well, it all comes down to the tech used to enable autonomous vehicles.

The sensors

Driverless cars are designed to have almost a superhuman-like ability to recognize the world around them. This is because they use loads of sensors to gather tons of data about their environment so that they can seamlessly operate in a constantly changing environment.

Essentially, companies developing autonomous vehicles are really just trying to replicate how a human drives using these sensors.

“As a human you have senses, you have your eyes, you have your ears, and sometimes you have the sense of touch, you are feeling the road. So those are your inputs and then those senses feed into your brain and your brain makes a decision on how to control your feet and your hands in terms of braking and pressing the gas and steering. So on an autonomous car you have to replace those senses,” Danny Shapiro, senior director of Nvidia’s automotive business unit, told Business Insider.

Some of the sensors used on autonomous cars include cameras, radar, lasers, and ultrasonic sensors. GPS and mapping technology are also used to help the car determine it’s position.

All of these have different strengths and weaknesses, but essentially they enable a lot of data to flow into the car.

The brain

All of this collected data is then fed into the car’s computer system, or “brain,” so to speak, and is processed so that the car can make decisions.

One of the leading companies building the brains for these cars is the chipmaker Nvidia. In fact, Tesla’s Autopilot system uses Nvidia’s Drive PX2, which is the company’s newest computer system for autonomous cars.

Drive PX2 is a powerful computer platform about the size of a license plate that uses a variety of Nvidia’s chips and software to take all of the data coming in from the sensors on an autonomous car to build a three-dimensional model of the car’s environment, Shapiro said.

“In the brain of the car, it almost looks like a video game. We are essentially recreating the world in a virtual 3D space,” he said.

To do this, Nvidia and other companies developing driverless tech use a little something called machine learning.

How it learns

Machine learning is a way of teaching algorithms by example or experience and companies are using it for all kinds of things these days. For example, Netflix and Amazon both use machine learning to make recommendations based on what you have watched or purchased in the past.

So to train a self-driving car, you would first drive the car hundreds of miles to collect sensor data. You would then process that data in a data center identifying frame by frame what each object is.

“Initially, the computer doesn’t know anything. We have to teach it. And so what we want to do is if we want to teach it to recognize pedestrians, we would feed it pictures of pedestrians. But what we can do is feed it millions pictures of pedestrians because pedestrians look different,” Shapiro said.

“The more data we feed it the more vocabulary it has and the more it can recognize what a pedestrian is. And we do the same thing with bicyclists, cars, trucks, and we do it at all times of day and different weather conditions. So again, essentially it has this infinite capability to build up a memory and understanding of what all of these different types of things could encounter would look like,” he said.

It might sound complicated, but when you think about it, it’s not that different from how humans learn.

When you were born, you didn’t know what anything was. But your parents or whoever raised you repeatedly pointed things out so that you could identify different objects and people.

Superhuman driving skills

Once a computer model is created, then it’s loaded into the car’s brain and hooked up to the rest of the car’s sensors to create real-world model of the car’s environment.

The car uses this model to make decisions about how it should respond in different situations. And because the car has sensors all around it, it has access to a lot more data than a human driver to help it make those decisions.

“There are insightful factors that get factored in. For example, if you are driving along and there’s a parked car with nobody in it, the vehicle will proceed next to that car,” Shapiro said.

“But if it sees the door is slightly open and there is somebody in it, well the expectation is that the door will open at any moment and someone will to try and get out of that car. So at that point, when the car senses that, it’s either going to slow down, or switch lanes if it can, and proceed with caution. And because it has a full 360 degrees view around the car, it can be tracking multiple objects, with much greater things happening, with much greater accuracy than any human.”




Cars submerged in floods as heavy rain follows Storm Angus across the UK.

Cars have been submerged by floodwater as heavy rain swept across parts of Britain already battered by Storm Angus.

Amber weather warnings were issued in Devon and parts of Somerset where a “significant amount of rainfall is expected”, with further warnings issued across south-west England and in the North East, the Met Office said.

Residents in Bristol were shocked as deep floodwater trapped cars in Whitchurch Lane.

Cars under flood water on Whitchurch Lane in Hartcliffe, Bristol (Lee Gitsham/PA)

Lee Gitsham, 43, set off for work as an office supply manager at 8am, only to be confronted by 2ft-3ft (0.6m-1m) of water which had left several cars submerged.

He said: “I had to go through an alternative route because the bottom of the road was flooded. Parked cars were submerged in water. There were two drivers who tried to get through but got stuck. It was at wing mirror level so it must have been about 2ft-3ft of water.

“I have lived in that area for nearly 10 years. I have never seen it as bad as that. We have had a bit of flooding where the water has covered the pavement but never where it covered car bonnets.”

He said he was lucky and managed to get in to work, but, with road and building works taking place nearby, many people trying to find alternative routes got stuck.

He added: “I saw a white van with a black car behind it. They tried to drive through and got stuck. Driveways were flooding.”

An Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We had reports of heavy floodwater in Whitchurch Lane. Everyone had been able to get out of their vehicles safely and no-one was trapped.”

The Met Office said 0.9in (21.6mm) of rain had fallen between 9pm and 9am on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, while Liscombe in Somerset saw 0.8in (19.2mm) of rain.

Spokesman Grahame Madge said amber weather warnings have been issued in Devon and parts of Somerset, valid between 5am and midnight on Monday.

Between 0.8in (20mm) and 1.2in (30mm) of rain could fall during a three to six-hour period in these areas, with the possibility of 1.6in (40mm) to 2.4in (60mm) locally across the whole day.

Yellow “be aware” warnings are also in place across the majority of south-west England until midnight.

Similar warnings have been issued for the North East of England up to the Scottish border from midday until 6am on Tuesday.

Mr Madge said: “What we have is a system gradually moving north and that is bringing rain as it travels north.

“The warning areas reflect the progress of this particular weather system – this low pressure as it goes through.”

He added that there could be strong winds associated with the weather system in parts.

Bobbie Massiah, 23, said three of her family’s cars had been written off because of the flooding in Whitchurch Lane, which first happened on Sunday.

She said: ” It happened yesterday – my car got written off yesterday. We contacted the council because the drains would have needed to be drained, but they didn’t come out to see us and now it’s happened again.

“We’ve lost three cars in our house because of it.”

Ms Massiah, a healthcare assistant, said the water had risen up to the bonnets of cars in the street and three vehicles had been “abandoned” in the middle of the road by drivers who had tried to get through on Monday morning.

She said the water had not yet risen up the steps of her house but had flooded a neighbour’s garden.

“It has flooded before but never this bad,” she added.

A spokesman for Network Rail said the line between Bristol Parkway and Swindon had been closed due to “heavy flooding”.

Trains between Cardiff and London Paddington have been cancelled and diversions are in place on other routes, he added.

Whitchurch Lane has a hill on one side and is slightly sloped on the other.

Shop assistant Christine Granger, 62, described the scene outside her home, including two submerged cars, as looking “like a river”.

Speaking as another burst of rain hit just before midday, she said: “It is tipping down now. It is just going to get worse. There is a Land Rover trying to get down and there are waves of water going right over the bonnet. It looks like a river. When it finally dies down the road and path will be thick with mud.

“We should not have to put up with it in this day and age. It is disheartening really.”

Mrs Granger, who has had two cars written off from flooding in the past 26 years, drove her son to work at 6.30am and the road had flooded by 7.10am when she returned.

She said she could hear “three or four” car alarms going off as the electrics failed.

Mrs Granger said “thankfully” she has managed to park at a friend’s home “or I would have been right in it and had another car flooded out”.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3956708/Cars-submerged-floods-heavy-rain-follows-Storm-Angus-UK.html#ixzz4QeYfD8BQ