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Any old answers

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More Dome news. Peter Mandelson, minister with a new portfolio, has been answering questions on his Greenwich pet project in the Commons in his usual idiosyncratic way. To Tam Dalyell he refused to disclose the architects' fees - they are based on a percentage of construction costs 'which are very tightly controlled' but are 'commercial in confidence'. (Astragal hears that the Work design group is on a nice earner of £30,000 a month). To Graham Stringer from Manchester, eager to know about the arrangements for athletics, he said, 'There are no proposed athletics facilities.' Perhaps he hadn't been told about the new game (see above). He confirmed that the huge figure inside the Dome will be both man and woman (Dana International), and that the emission of hydrochloro-fluorocarbons caused by the Dome's air cooling system will not surpass 1 per cent: 'pretty good going'. He also announced that the New Millennium Experience Company is to reimburse London City Airport to the tune of £22,000 until the end of this year and £17,500 every year after that. This is because the height of the Dome means that planes can no longer use alternative take-off and landing routes 'in certain rare weather conditions'. Happily, the Dome's £758 million budget includes £200 million for contingencies.

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