Predictions that proposals in Kate Barker's review of the planning system won't take effect till 2009 and a possible rise in the rate of landfill tax

Speeded-up planning unlikely before 2009

Saturday’s Financial Times ran a big piece looking at some of the proposals of the Barker review. It said the planning reforms that would allow for the fast-tracking of large projects are unlikely to take effect before 2009.

The paper cites the Department for Communities and Local Government, which says the Barker review will take at least a year or two to implement. It also reports business leaders are keen that the reforms should not be derailed by the green lobby.

In a related report it says that people living in the Countryside were “shaken” by Barker’s recommendations that more homes and workplaces are built in the green belt.

Brown considers raising landfill duty

Gordon Brown is considering raising the rate of landfill tax, according to Saturday’s FT. Small print in the pre-budget report says the tax could rise more steeply in the future costing businesses and local councils hundreds of millions of pounds more each year. A decision is expected in the budget.

Eon plans cleaner coal-fired power station

Eon, the German owner of Powergen has submitted a planning application for the first coal-fired power station to be built in the UK for decades says the FT.

The application is for 1600MW power station in Kingsnorth, Kent on the site of an existing plant. If approved it would consist of two 880MW “supercritical” boilers that emit less carbon than traditional boilers.

Families face long wait before returning to homes hit by tornado

Thirty-four homes have been judged too dangerous to return to in the aftermath of the tornado that hit north London last week, Saturday’s Independent reports. Detailed emergency surveys are underway to determine what repairs are needed. Saturday’s Financial Times said that some of the houses might have to be torn down (Homes in jeopardy following tornado).

Builders told to make all new homes ‘carbon-zero’

The Observer reported that communities minister Ruth Kelly will this week announce how plans set out by chancellor Gordon Brown in his pre-budget report to make all new homes ‘carbon zero’ by 2016, will be achieved. According to the paper it is expected that she will announce a six-star rating system to identify how near a flat or house is to carbon-zero and a gradual tightening of building regulations. It said the government plans to consult the building industry on whether to make the measures compulsory.

CSN to take on Tata Steel with formal Corus bid

The Observer said that Brazilian steel group CSN is expected to make a formal bid this week for Anglo-Dutch steel group Corus, with an offer of £4.3bn. It reported that CSN made an informal offer of 475p a share last month, an offer that beat the 455p offer on the table from Indian producer Tata Steel. Either bid would create the fifth largest steel group in the world.

DTI to be axed in Brown shake-up of Whitehall

The Sunday Times said that the Department of Trade and Industry was almost certainly to be abolished under a shake-up being considered by the Chancellor Gordon Brown when he becomes prime minister.

The paper said that it would be scrapped and replaced with a beefed-up energy department and its other responsibilities abolished or distributed among other departments.

No end to the M&A boom

The Sunday Times said that the boom in global deals in 2006 was set to accelerate in 2007, according to research by investment bank Morgan Stanley. The research found that Britain was likely to dominate European merger activity in 2006. Morgan Stanley said that mergers and acquisitions were now the top priority for companies.

Olympic chief in slow lane

The Sunday Times said that the decision to choose the ODA’s partner on the Olympic Village had been delayed because chief executive David Higgins had gone on a three-week holiday. The shortlist is down to two – a consortium including Bouygues and Barratt and another led by Lend Lease.