NEWS IN BRIEF

Shadow moves

Angela Browning, a former Conservative government education spokeswoman, has become shadow trade and industry secretary. She replaces John Redwood, who is now shadow minister for environment, transport and the regions.

No ageism

The Government has published a new voluntary code in a bid to discouraging age discrimination at work. The code says firms should avoid using age limits or ranges in job adverts.

Pay rises down

Engineering pay settlements fell to an average of 2% in May, according to the Engineering Employers Federation. But the small sample size left the three-month average at 2.7%, unchanged from April. See Trends, p42

North Sea static

The drop in world energy demand last year will see minimal investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry for 1999, BP Amoco warned this week. But production will rise by some 100,000 barrels a day as three new fields come on stream.

Power probe

Electricity regulator Offer has called in independent assessor Mott MacDonald to examine National Power’s decision to close three power stations. Meanwhile, Offer is to be merged with gas regulator Ofgas into Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Regulation.

Pipeline paperwork

New regulations next month will require environmental impact statements for all new large underground gas pipelines in the UK. They will apply to lines of more than 40km long and 800mm diameter.

More gas power

The Government has given the go-ahead for another small gas-fired power station – Enron’s 45MW combined heat and power plant to supply the Teesside Gas Processing Plant in Cleveland.