Protesters disrupt MIPIM property fair

Reports that housing protesters have disrupted the MIPIM UK property exhibition in London feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that the event "was billed as the ultimate ‘property marketplace’, a high-profile networking event for investors, developers and local authorities to broker big deals, but the first day of the MIPIM UK conference in Olympia, west London ended in a police lockdown". The newspaper says that protesters "forced organisers to close the gates and one conference delegate was arrested on suspicion of assault as tensions spilled over".

The Telegraph reports that, speaking at the event, London mayor Boris Johnson "defended the injection of overseas wealth into the London housing market and rubbished ‘xenophobic left wing commentators’ who want to ‘fight them off with pitch forks’".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that small and medium-sized businesses "are finding it increasingly hard to make a living in London because of high property costs". The newspaper says that research by the Federation of Small Businesses "found the capital compares poorly with international peers when it comes to creating favourable conditions for the 99 per cent of UK companies, which employ 14m people. London comes in 18th of 24 in its Small Business Cities Burden Index, below places such as New York, Dublin and Tokyo".

The Financial Times (subscription required) also reports that "heat is flowing from the UK’s first deep geothermal test well in 20 years, aimed at establishing the renewable energy source as a viable component of the country’s low-carbon economy". The newspaper says that the chief executive of the company behind the operation "argues that hundreds of onshore oil and gas wells already drilled in Britain during recent decades – and perhaps hundreds more if fracking develops – could be used as low-cost conduits of geothermal energy rather than being plugged and abandoned".

The Guardian reports that an "unrestrained global fracking boom that unleashes plentiful and cheap gas will not tackle global warming by replacing coal and cutting carbon emissions, according to a comprehensive analysis that takes into account the impact on the rest of the energy supply". The newspaper says that an analysis published in the journal Nature "shows that a gas boom would cut energy prices, squeezing out renewable energy, and is likely to actually increase overall carbon emissions. The researchers conclude that only new interventions, such as a long-sought international climate change deal or significant global price on carbon pollution, would be effective in tackling warming".

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