1) Forest Green Rovers stadium – a timber revolution?
Gloucestershire-based Forest Green Rovers’ decision to build a wooden football stadium was unprecedented. It has becoming an even bolder call when you consider the current perception of combustible materials and backdrop of financial uncertainty facing lower-league teams.
A director from Zaha Hadid, who designed the timber structure (above), told CN in February 2020 wood was a good material for stadium construction, being both low-carbon and conducive to an attractive design.
Planning approval for the 5,000-seater stadium was granted back in December last year and the government decided not to call the project in shortly before coronavirus struck. Since then, there have been claims that the stadium would take just two years to build.
Forest Green chairman Dale Vince has said there is unlikely to be football played there until 2023, but next year will be a crucial period for the construction of this unique project.
2) Rolls-Royce doubles down on mini modular nuclear plans
The government laid out ambitious targets for reducing the UK’s carbon emissions in 2020. An upshot of that was an increased enthusiasm for nuclear energy, which, while it might not be everyone’s idea of a clean solution, produces substantially less emissions.
Talks over a new multi-billion-pound facility at Sizewell C in Suffolk were revived by the government in December 2020, as it seeks to deliver on its promise to invest in the sector. However, an interesting alternative to big plants is a plan, led by Rolls-Royce, to build several smaller modular nuclear reactors.
The household name is reeling after carrying out a £2bn rights issue to stabilise its balance sheet and fend off the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This situation has increased the importance of Rolls-Royce’s efforts to convince the government of the value of the smaller modular approach. Particularly as the airline industry, one of Rolls-Royce’s key markets, is struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
Backing Rolls Royce in their efforts is Atkins, Bam Nuttall, Jacobs and Laing O’Rourke.
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