Wedmore

England, United Kingdom

Latest Stories

A man rescued by the RNLI has converted a camper and caravan to fundraise for the charity
A man rescued by the RNLI has converted a camper and caravan to fundraise for the charity.

The EU elections: perspectives from the west

Paul Barltrop

Political Editor, West of England

More on our look at the three main schools of thought for candidates standing in the EU elections on May 23rd.

Today: There’s keen competition in the South West between parties who unashamedly love the EU.

The Liberal Democrats are riding high, having made big gains across the region in the recent local elections. That in turn has boosted their campaign, with party members happy to get out campaigning.

The Greens are a smaller party, but fared better than the Lib Dems at the last Euro election, and are proud of the track record of their sitting MEP Molly Scott Cato. They too fared well earlier this month, notably increasing their tally of councillors.

It is harder for Change UK, the new party set up by MPs who left Labour and the Conservatives. Without an established party structure or membership, they face a tough challenge winning over pro-EU voters.

A quarter of children in poverty

Hungry child
Getty Images

About a quarter of children in our region are living in poverty, according to new research.

Among the local authorities facing the highest levels of child poverty, after housing costs are taken into account, are West Somerset with a figure of 31% and Gloucester with a figure of 28%.

The data has been published by the End Child Poverty coalition.

Other figures locally include Bristol (27%), Forest of Dean (26%), South Somerset (25%), Sedgemoor (24%) and Wiltshire (24%).

The Children's Society said the findings were "disappointing".

Without significant additional investment, there is little hope of reducing child poverty rates in coming years.

Sam RoystonThe Children’s Society

The EU elections: perspectives from the West

Paul Barltrop

Political Editor, West of England

More on our look at the three main groups you will be asked to vote on in the EU elections on May 23rd.

Three parties are deeply opposed to the European Union, and want us to leave without delay.

UKIP caused something of a political earthquake in the last Euro elections, coming first and getting two MEPs elected in the South West. But they have since left, and the party has fractured, amid claims it has become too extreme.

Many have followed former leader Nigel Farage into his new Brexit Party. Only set up this year, it is fielding some well-known candidates, including former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe in the South West.

Also standing, though with just two candidates, are the English Democrats; they have stood in several previous European elections, though without success.

Tomorrow I'll be looking at those who unashamedly love the EU and do not want a "divorce".

The EU elections: perspectives from the West

Paul Barltrop

Political Editor, West of England

The South West will be picking six people to represent the whole region in the European Parliament on election day, May 23rd.

Voters will have a big choice.

On the ballot paper there are eight political parties, listed alphabetically, along with three independents, and every candidate’s name is printed. But we can break the parties down into groups.

There are three who love the EU, and want to stop Brexit: the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Change UK.

The two biggest political parties, the Conservatives and Labour, are rather on the fence: officially committed to enacting Brexit, but deeply troubled over how to do it.

Then there are those who want out straight away, unafraid of leaving with no deal: UKIP, the Brexit Party and the English Democrats.

Across this week I'll be looking at these three main groups.

Female motorist dies in crash in Lympsham

A woman has died after her car hit a lorry in Somerset on Monday.

The crash happened at about 5.30pm near the Ferry Lane junction with the A370, close to Hobbs Boat Inn in Lympsham.

The woman driver was seriously injured in the crash and died shortly afterwards, Avon and somerset Police confirmed.

The road is currently closed while collision investigators complete their examination of the scene and motorists are being advised to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

Historic tower reopens after restoration

View of Cheddar Gorge
Matthew Cattell/Getty Images for Samsung Galaxy S8

A century-old lookout tower in Somerset is to officially re-open today following a two-year restoration project.

Views from the top of the 14 metre tall building in Cheddar extend across the Mendip plateau to Glastonbury Tor and as far as Exmoor.

The £100,000 restoration work included replacing sections of steel, shot-blasting and repainting the tower, and replacing thousands of bolts.

A team of builders had to ferry more than three tonnes of replacement steelwork as well as 35 tonnes of scaffolding up to the cliff top.

The tower, which was originally constructed from wood, first opened to visitors in the summer of 1908.

It was replaced by a wrought iron version in 1936.

The Lookout Tower is an iconic part of Cheddar and has a rich and fascinating history dating back more than 100 years. It provides a fantastic opportunity to see the gorge in its wider geographical context.

Leon TroakeOperations manager, Cheddar Gorge & Caves

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Radio presenter
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: An inquest will continue today into the death of a 20-year-old student from Bristol University.
  • BBC Gloucestershire: Police say groups of shoplifters are travelling into Gloucester and Cheltenham to steal goods.
  • BBC Somerset: Wildlife is getting trapped in plastic netting put up by developers in Bridgwater.
  • BBC Wiltshire: A 17-year-old boy is due in court in Bristol today, charged with the murder of Calne teenager Ellie Gould.

Stunning sand art creation made on Brean Beach by Simon Beck
The star on the Somerset coast, is the 100th creation by sand and snow artist Simon Beck.

CCTV images released after man and woman attacked

Avon and Somerset Police has released CCTV images in a bid to identify 10 people as part of an investigation into a serious assault.

Two people were assaulted in the Halls Road area of Kingswood, Bristol, at about 3am on Saturday 23 March.

Officers have released CCTV images of 10 people they would like to identify.

The victims had just left Chasers nightclub in Regent Street when they were followed and attacked.

A 22-year-old man was punched in the face several times and kicked in the head after falling to the floor. He suffered injuries including a fractured jaw.

A 21-year-old woman was punched in the face during the same incident and suffered facial injuries.

View more on twitter

Election latest: Mendip, Sedgemoor and South Somerset

As well as the drama unfolding in North Somerset, the county has three other counts underway.

Mendip: Eleven out of 47 seats have declared so far - the Lib Dems have picked up six, independents have four and the Conservatives one. Pro-Brexit Conservative candidate John Parham has lost his seat in Shepton Mallet. Independents have taken the two seats in that ward.

Sedgemoor: Sixteen out of 48 seats have been declared, with Labour taking nine and and the Conservatives taking seven.

South Somerset:At the halfway point the Lib Dems lead with 18 seats, Conservatives on 11 and one independent. They need 31 to keep control of the council.

Police visit Somerset schools to educate on knife crime

Man holding knife
BBC

Children in Somerset are being educated by police officers about knife crime.

Avon and Somerset Police statistics show there have been 20 instances of knife crime reported in the region over the past three years.

Community beat manager for Midsomer Norton and Radstock, PC Mark Graham has been hosting presentations in schools to teach children about the dangers associated with carrying knives. He believes the problem often goes unreported.

He said: "We need to be getting the message out that reporting from schools needs to increase.

"Knife crime is a societal problem. It's not something the police is going to be able to enforce out on their own. It's down to parents the police and the wider community."

For more information about the Youth and Policing Education Hub, visit the Avon and Somerset Police website.

Bath Uni experts comments on social mobility

A Bath University expert, who resigned from a government commission about education chances for all, saying the government were too distracted by Brexit to make a difference, has again called for urgent action.

The State of the Nation report by the new Social Mobilty Commission has said the situation has remained "virtually stagnant" since 2014.

Paul Gregg is a Professor of Economic and Social Policy, and Director of the Centre for Analysis and Social Policy at the University of Bath.

He has said nothing is changing and nothing will change if more is not done.

View more on twitter

Call for ban on tree netting

Netted tree
BBC

The West's wildlife campaigners are demanding a ban on the use of netting on trees and hedgerows as used by some developers.

The Home Builders' Federation says the nets prevent birds nesting in trees which are to be chopped down, and projects would otherwise face long delays.

Bird
BBC

Next month the government will debate whether the practice should be made a criminal offence after 350,000 opponents signed a petition saying the netting is putting birds at risk.