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United Kingdom & Europe - Aug 5

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High-speed rail plan 'will progressively replace short-haul flights'

Chris Irvine, The Daily Telegraph
Lord Adonis said switching 46 million domestic air passengers a year to a new multi-billion pound north-south rail line was "manifestly in the public interest".

He believes that short-haul flights between Britain and Europe, as well as domestic air travel, should be "progressively replaced" by a rail network that will help to manage congestion on existing lines as well as shorten journey times throughout the country.

"For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail. But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it," he told The Guardian.

"I would like to see short-haul aviation - not just domestic aviation, but short-haul aviation - progressively replaced by rail, including high-speed rail.

"If we want to see the progressive replacement ... then we have got to have a high-speed rail system that links our major conurbations and makes them far more accessible to Europe, too."
(5 August 2009)

EU reaches gas deal with Ukraine

BBC Online
The EU and international lending institutions have agreed a deal with Ukraine to help it provide stable supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

Loans worth $1.7bn (£1bn) were agreed in return for reforms to Ukraine's gas sector, the European Commission said.

The deal is meant to include money to help Ukrainian national gas company Naftogaz pay off large debts to Russia...
(1 August 2009)

Call for more intervention on energy

Ed Crooks, Financial Times
An “interventionist” approach by the government will be needed if security of energy supply is to be guaranteed, a report commissioned by the prime minister will conclude on Wednesday.

Malcolm Wicks, the former energy minister appointed by Gordon Brown as his special representative for international energy issues, will say that “the time for market innocence is over” and that the government needs to do more to safeguard electricity and gas supplies.

His report, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, raises concerns about a new “dash for gas” that could make Britain more dependent on imports from countries such as Russia, Algeria and Nigeria.
(4 August 2009)

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