News in brief

Weir’s £24m win

Weir Group subsidiary Strachan & Henshaw has announced £24m of orders for defence, nuclear and materials handling products and services. The largest deal awarded by VSEL is to modernise and enhance weapon-handling and discharge systems on the four Upholder submarines being sold to Canada.

Govan gets a break

Kvaerner’s Govan shipyard has won a multi-million pound order to build the hull of an ice breaker. The order will secure work for the yard at least until May this year. But unions say more orders must be won to secure a long-term future for the yard’s 850 workers.

Horizon no closer

Firms involved in the £8bn pan-European Horizon frigate project have yet to solve problems which have stalled the signing of contracts for the ship and its main weapon, the Ministry of Defence said this week. UK company GEC Marine and its partners in France and Italy are seeking a more solid management structure to carry the project through.

Clean air targets

The Government published a review of air quality and announced new targets for reducing the eight main health-affecting pollutants. Tighter targets are to be set for lead, benzene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, 1,3-butadiene and particles; objectives for ozone and sulphur dioxide are unchanged.

Graduates get ahead

Engineering graduates can command starting salaries an average of £1,000 higher than other graduates, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ latest report. And six out of 10 firms reported a shortage of engineering graduates during 1998, leading to unfilled vacancies.