UK business briefs: London regeneration, Reservoir responsibility, Kids go free, Scouts recycling, Knowledge day, Water contract, Vedic conference centre

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt opened a £1 million business centre in Southall, West London, this week. She met local businesspeople who will benefit from the facilities at the new Southall Business Centre, which is funded by a range of backers, including the London Development Agency, London Borough of Ealing, Business Link for London, BAA, Sunrise Radio and Noon Products.

The Environment Agency (EA) has taken responsibility for the safety of over 2000 reservoirs in England and Wales in a change resulting from the Water Act 2003. The EA will establish and maintain a register of reservoirs to ensure all owners have an effective inspection and maintenance regime, and will seek to actively persuade them to comply with the Act. Continued non-compliance will lead to prosecution, and in extreme cases, the EA will commission essential services to achieve safety.

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced that state schoolchildren can now enjoy the London Wetlands Centre for free. A total of £270,000 is being made available over the next three years for state schools in the Greater London area to visit the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. Currently 10,000 children visit annually and the centre has predicted that numbers should rise to 24,000 by the third year of the scheme.

Scout Groups across the UK have raised a massive £250,000 in the last five years by recycling so-called rubbish. The cash was raised by over 1,800 Scout Groups that signed up to a recycling programme run by British company Eurosource. They have each taken a share of the quarter of a million pounds generated from recycling old, unwanted mobile phones and used printer cartridges that would otherwise have been dumped in polluting landfill sites. Eurosource refurbishes and re-sells the products, rewarding groups who help rescue the recyclable items by giving them a substantial share of the proceeds.

Cranfield University has announced it will run a Manufacturing Open Day this November aimed at showcasing the university's capabilities while facilitating knowledge exchange and networking opportunities. The event will cover a wide range of manufacturing topics and areas such as coatings, composites, welding, motorsport, nanotechnology, precision grinding and cost engineering.

Biwater Treatment has secured a contract incorporating membrane bio-reactor filtration for the Northern Ireland Water Service's new Ballyclare wastewater treatment works in County Antrim. The £9.1 million project is being carried out by the Biwater Graham Joint Venture, following on from Biwater's previous MBR schemes at Campbeltown for Scottish Water and at Severn Trent's newly completed Buxton WwTW. All three plants are for a population equivalent of around 29,000 and use Zenon environmental membranes.

And finally, the Woodley Park Centre, which is the first public building in the UK built in accord with the ancient principles of Vastu Vidya and Vedic Architecture, has been presented with an award for Best Practice in Urban Regeneration. The conference centre was built with rammed earth walls and a variety of other eco-friendly features, and offers a positive alternative formula for building orientation, proportions and room placements.



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