Clare Short, the UK’s secretary for international development, has asked fellow members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris to relax the rules on tied aid, giving developing countries more freedom to choose technology used in environmental projects.

If the rules are changed, UK export companies may lose business. Around 14 per cent of aid from the UK is currently conditional upon the use of UK products.France, with a tied aid figure of 25 per cent is allied with the US, Japan and Denmark in opposing such a change, while the UK government leads a group of 10 European countries arguing for untied aid as a more effective means of economic assistance.

Severn Trent Laboratories has acquired US firm EA Laboratories and its associated assets for a total of $3.9M. Severn Trent has invested a total of $149M in US acquisitions since 1997, and now owns 12 environmental testing laboratories across the country, following a drive to develop the company’s position in the US market. According to chief executive Vic Cocker: “Along with our contract operations of water and wastewater plants, pipeline services and software solutions, we have a business in the US with annual sales of some $240M.”

Rentokil Hygiene has decided to expand its water treatment services, by appointing water treatment specialists at 10 of the company’s regional offices. The services in question are for the disinfection of water storage tanks in large buildings, associated pipework, ventilation ducts and humidifiers.

AWE Hunting-Brae has developed a new method of trapping and monitoring pollutants using Calixarene molecules. When secured in a resin base, the cup-shaped molecules can be used to catch contaminants passing over the surface in solution. The technique is said to be particularly suitable for the removal of heavy metals.

Italian based firm Fluid System has been acquired by Rotork Controls of the UK. Rotork is known principally as a manufacturer of heavy-duty electric valve actuators, whereas Fluid System produces a range of pneumatic and hydraulic valve actuation equipment. The move will improve Rotork’s market share across Europe and Scandinavia, and result in the formation of the world’s largest independent actuator company.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie