General News

MoD: Plans for a major new defence centre in North Wiltshire have been given the green light by Defence Minister Derek Twigg.  The project, known as 'Corsham09', will accommodate 2,200 Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) personnel and their industry partners on the Basil Hill site in Corsham.
The PFI contract for the site is worth £690m under a 25-year PFI deal and will combine offices from the Corsham area.  Construction work will start in November 2008 and will include brand new single living accommodation for 180 service men & women and an operational command building for the DE&S ISS Headquarters and Global Operations Security & Control Centre (GOSCC).
Press release ~ Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) ~ 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade
PCS: The PCS union reacted with anger recently as the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) gave the go ahead to end passport processing in Scotland at the cost of 114 jobs at the Glasgow passport office.
The union vowed to campaign against the decision, which will see a quarter of the workforce go as part of a restructuring exercise and result in the Glasgow office stopping passport processing by the end of the year. However in response to PCS action and representations management have agreed a stay of execution and held off announcing further closures until after 2011.
Press release ~ Identity and Passport Service (IPS) ~ PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union)
OSOrdnance Survey’s leading GI strategist is being seconded to Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to help lead the UK’s implementation of the UK Location Strategy (UKLS) and the EU INSPIRE Directive.
The EU INSPIRE Directive provides a common European framework that defines what needs to be undertaken to achieve interoperable and integrated data across the continent.  A joined‑up approach to creating, recording and using GI will benefit organisations and businesses across the EU.
The UKLS, due to be published in the near future, is expected to align with the INSPIRE framework.  A common governing body will be established to coordinate how the UK will deliver on both elements.
Press release ~ UK Location Strategy (UKLS) ~ EU INSPIRE Directive
NA: For the first time you can now search & download the medal index cards of more than 20,000 soldiers who served in the Indian Army during World War One.  The cards record the soldiers who were entitled to, or made a claim for, campaign medals - in particular the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
In addition, also for the first time you can now search & download service records of officers who served in the Royal Navy.  These records were kept by the Admiralty from the 1840s and record service for warrant officers joining the Royal Navy up to 1931 and commissioned officers joining the service up to 1917, including King George VI.
Press release ~ World War One medal cards ~ Royal Naval officers' service records
Defra: Defra has launched a new public information film (filler) to highlight the risks travellers face if they bring illegal food products into the UK. Although the sixty second film, 'Don't Bring Me Back', takes a humorous and light-hearted approach, with puppets made to look like food that sing to travellers, the message is very serious.
It focuses on the personal inconvenience of being delayed at the airport as a result of baggage searches by UK Border Agency staff and of having any illegal foods seized, but ends with the stark warning about the possibility of causing a disease outbreak and also facing prosecution.
Press release ~ Personal food imports ~ 'Don't Bring Me Back ~ Public information films from 1945-2006
BERR: The Energy Secretary, John Hutton, has announced the approval of the UK's fourth largest offshore wind farm. The 315MW offshore wind farm (Sheringham Shoal) is planned off the coast of Norfolk and the development by Scira Offshore Energy Ltd will comprise of up to 108 turbines, enough to power the equivalent of around 178,000 homes with clean, green electricity.
Press release ~ Sheringham Shoal ~ BWEA ~ BERR - wind
TSB: The Technology Strategy Board and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to jointly invest over £10m in sixteen innovative research & development (R&D) projects into materials technologies that will help meet the country's energy challenges.
The focus of the projects will be on the development of technologies and materials for energy generation, transmission & distribution, storage and conservation. The projects include R&D in areas such as:
* Energy efficient bio-based natural fibre insulation
* New materials & methods for energy efficient tidal turbines
* Sustainable power cable materials technologies with improved whole life performance
* A new manufacturing process to produce a novel cellular vacuum insulation panel for retrofit into buildings, to reduce heat loss / energy
Press release ~ Technology Strategy Board ~ Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Directgov: Research by Directgov shows that 38% of people have had to look for a GP or pharmacy, 5% have needed a dentist and 20% worry about having an accident or falling ill while on holiday in the UK - but for those taking a break in England this summer, help is just a text away.
Directgov and NHS Choices are piloting a new mobile service in England to help you find assistance in those unexpected moments and locations.  Whether you need a dentist, GP or another health service while you are holidaying in England, by sending a text to 64746, the new service can help you find the nearest health facilities, whenever you need them and wherever you might be.
Press release ~ DirectGov video (Click on picture for ‘Services on your mobile’ for short video and also entry in ‘more information on’) ~ NHS Choices
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