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vital statistics

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Building tender prices are accelerating, with London leading the way, says consultant E C Harris. Its latest economic survey says prices will rise 6 per cent in the year to the first quarter of 1999, and 5 per cent the following year.

Acceleration will peak this summer, it predicts.

The number of overseas visitors coming to the UK rose 3 per cent in 1997 compared with the record year of 1996, says the Office of National Statistics.

North American visitors exceeded four million for the first time. The total of 25.9 million visitors spent £12.65 billion.

Local planning authorities made 63 per cent of decisions within eight weeks, latest national statistics show. Some 32 authorities met or surpassed the government's target of deciding 80 per cent within this period.

The English Sports Council has award £669 million of lottery funds to 60 sports since April 1995.

Pricing levels for projects with a contract value of £1 million are 12 per cent lower than for a project of £100,000, says the Building Cost Information Service. A £5 million project is likely to have prices 5 per cent lower than one of £1 million.

The government is to inspect 500 countryside sites, reviewing features such as hedges, walls and fresh water, as part of a major countryside survey. Satellites will be used to monitor hedge removal, marsh drainage and ploughing of meadows.

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