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Construction minister praises British-designed skyscrapers

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Construction minister Brian Wilson has spoken out in favour of tall buildings. His comments come in the run up to two crucial decisions from secretary of state Stephen Byers - on KPF's Heron Tower and Renzo Piano's London Bridge Tower.

Wilson, speaking at the 'Global Leaders Summit on Tall Buildings' at the Building Research Establishment last week, praised WS Atkins' Arabian Tower in Dubai and Lord Foster's Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt. He said they were good examples of British-designed tall buildings that make 'significant contributions to their setting'.

Wilson said there was a clear imperative for the coordination of research on tall buildings. 'The UK construction industry has shown it has the talent and technical expertise to be at the vanguard of worldwide design and construction of tall buildings, ' he said. 'I believe the UK research base at its best is a world beater and can make a significant contribution to not only the UK's but also to global understanding of safety and other issues concerning tall buildings.'

Byers is expected to make a decision shortly about whether to call in London Bridge Tower for public inquiry. His decision on whether to approve Heron Tower is expected this summer.

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