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Making kayaks from Cornish coastline rubbish
Volunteers dedicated to cleaning the coastline have collected five tonnes of rubbish.

South West Water to offer customers £20

Claire Gilbody-Dickerson

BBC News

South West Water (SWW) is sharing £25m with its customers after outperforming by offering them £20 in a first for the company.

The WaterShare+ scheme is part of SWW’s 2020-25 ‘New Deal’.

"Shaped by customers for customers, it represents the output of SWW’s biggest ever customer consultation," according to a statement.

Customers can choose to have the money as credit on their next water bill or as shares in Pennon Group PLC, which is SWW's parent company.

Water tap
Getty Images

Susan Davy, Pennon Group Chief Executive, said in a statement: “This innovative scheme is about doing the right thing, ensuring our customers remain at the heart of our service and success.

"Driven by our values and guided by what customers want, we hope WaterShare+ will build new levels of trust and transparency," she said in a statement.

'Vision zero' scheme to get no RTC deaths by 2040

BBC Radio Devon

An effort to stop people being killed on Devon and Cornwall's roads has been launched.

The 'Vision Zero' scheme aims reduce the number of deaths to zero by 2040.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez told Radio Cornwall road accidents are killing too many people.

A30
Google

With 60 people dying and hundreds more seriously injured every year, Ms Hernandez said: "For us one of the biggest costs to all of us is the loss of lives and the impact on families and that is an absolutely immense impact.

"We want to make sure we are cutting out the ability for people to actually lose their lives on our roads," she said.

Cornwall Councillors 'strongly object' to planning changes

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

House being built
LDRS

A cross-party group of Cornwall councillors will call on members to object to changes to the current planning system put forward by the government.

The government has published a list of changes which it says would make it easier for houses to be built.

However the proposals have been described as a "disaster" for Cornwall with warnings that they could lead to developers having free rein and reducing the number of affordable homes built.

One of the objections is against plans to change housing targets, which could see the county required to build 81,000 homes in 20 years, an increase from the current level of 52,500.

A motion calling on the council to back the objection calls will be put forward at the council's meeting next week.

Plymouth sees 40 new cases of coronavirus

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

Plymouth has 40 new cases of coronavirus according to the latest government statistics.

The figure relates to those confirmed in the seven days leading up to 14 September.

In the previous week, Plymouth saw 42 new cases of the virus.

At least two schools in the city have been forced to send pupils home due to emerging cases.

Exeter has experienced 12 new cases up to 14 September, while Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have seen 52 in the same period.

Figures for the remaining South West areas include:

  • Torridge - 6
  • Teignbridge - 7
  • Mid Devon - 4
  • North Devon - 4
  • East Devon - 6
  • South Hams - 3
  • West Devon - 1
  • Torbay - 1

Woman, 79, dies 10 days after A30 crash

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

A 79-year-old woman has died following a crash on the A30 in Cornwall.

Iris Udy had serious injuries on 2 September when her car collided with a Ford transit van on the eastbound carriageway of the A30 between Victoria and Innis Downs.

The driver of the Ford Transit, a 64-year-old man from Wales, was uninjured.

Ms Udy was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and died 10 days later on 12 September.

Police are appealing for any witnesses or those with dashcam footage to call 101 quoting Log 442 of 2 September 2020.

Body found in search for missing woman

Claire Gilbody-Dickerson

BBC News

Police searching for a woman missing from Truro say they have found a body in Dorset.

Julia Williams, 24, was last seen two weeks ago in Budleigh Salterton.

A body was found at Portland at 10:40 on Tuesday.

Formal identification is yet to take place but Ms Williams' family has been informed.

Covid-19: Police say everyone has 'legal responsibility'

Claire Gilbody-Dickerson

BBC News

Police have reminded people they have a "legal responsibility" to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and abide by the "rule of six" which came into force on Monday.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it will maintain the 4Es approach to the new legislation - engagement, education and encouragement to get the public to abide by the rules. Enforcement remains a final option.

Police break up gathering
Getty Images
People are now prohibited from gathering in groups of more than six

The new rule prohibits gatherings of more than six people and means police can break up groups exceeding the limit and subject them to a £100 fine.

Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said: “The change to Covid-19 legislation and subsequent change in the law, means everyone has a legal responsibility to play their part and not gather in a group of more than six people.

“The new rules are clear. We all have a personal responsibility for following them to help stop of the spread of a deadly virus.”

There are some exceptions to these rules, including if the group is all part of the same household or two linked households.

Body found off coast of Dorset

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

A body has been found off the coast of Dorset.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the body was located in the water at Portland at around 10:40 BST on Tuesday.

Formal identification is yet to take place, but the family of Julia Williams, from Cornwall, has been informed of the discovery, the force said.

Miss Williams was reported missing from Truro on 4 September, and a day later her car was found at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon.

A large-scale police search was eventually called off after she could not be traced.

Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious and a file was being prepared for the coroner.

Plans to cuts Cornwall tip trips to 26 per vehicle dumped

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall Council cabinet members have dropped plans to reduce the number of visits to recycling centres by any single vehicle to once every fortnight, or 26 times a year.

The authority heard it would currently cost too much to put in new cameras to monitor such a scheme.

But it will be debated again next year.

Cornwall Council to lose 200 jobs

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Cornwall Council has indicated that it will be looking to cut 200 jobs - but hopes that none will have to be compulsory redundancies.

Details of the cuts have been included in the council’s draft budget proposals for 2021/22, which the Cabinet has decided should be used as a basis for public consultation.

Council deputy leader Adam Paynter said redundancies were not a decision “taken lightly” and said the council had been working with unions on the proposals.

Cornwall Council sign
BBC

Masked mannequin used to prepare dogs for Covid-19

BBC Spotlight

Dogs in RSPCA'S care get used to face masks before being rehoused

An RSPCA centre is using a mannequin with a face mask to prepare dogs for the "real world".

The centre in St Columb in Cornwall currently hosts 24 dogs and has taken measures to prepare them to a reality where face masks are now mandatory in most public places.

Irresponsible parking 'could cost lives'

BBC Radio Cornwall

Irresponsible parking could cost lives if emergency vehicles are delayed or cannot get past, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service has warned.

Crews said there had been a spate of incidents where fire engines struggled to squeeze down narrow side streets because of careless parking.

In one case, cars completely blocked the doors at Perranporth station, they added.

Scott Brown, from the service, said the problem was getting worse.

Certainly over the last eight to 10 weeks, crews have experienced it almost on a weekly basis. That delay can lead to someone losing their life if we don't get there in time - in particular in house fires and road traffic collisions, where time is of the essence. Those are the ones where it [delay] is really going to bite."

Scott BrownCornwall Fire and Rescue Service
Cornwall fire engine
BBC

Cornwall Council to discuss 'one of the toughest budgets'

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Senior councillors in Cornwall are due to discuss what has been dubbed "one of the toughest budgets" they have ever had to draw up.

The county's unitary authority said that, with current financial uncertainty, difficult decisions would have to be made.

The council said £58m of savings were needed by 2025, and the impact of the Covid pandemic, Brexit and no clarity on what cash would be coming from the government meant there were a lot of unknowns.

With critical front-line services being prioritised, the council's cabinet is to discuss plans which include fundamental changes to the way it works, with talk of "less important areas" being reduced, voluntary redundancies and more use of technology.

A public consultation on residents' priorities is also due to run until December, with final decisions on the budget and council tax bills expected to be made in February.

Cornwall Council
BBC

Primary school bubble sent home after suspected Covid case

BBC Radio Cornwall

Sixty pupils and a number of staff at a primary school in Truro have been sent home because of a suspected case of Covid-19.

The decision was made at Tregolls School after one parent tested positive for coronavirus and a child was awaiting results, staff said.

As a precautionary measure, the school has decided all children in that bubble must stay at home, they added.

Head teacher Lara Jeffries said it was hoped test results would be back "hopefully Wednesday or Thursday".

She added: "Then we just really want to get children back into school as quickly as we possibly can".

Tregolls School
Google

Row over Covid testing availability

BBC Spotlight

A South West MP has defended the government's Covid 19 testing programme after complaints that very few are available in some areas of Cornwall and Devon.

Cornwall Council said it had been "inundated" with people describing problems trying to get a coronavirus test.

There are calls for NHS workers to be given priority for tests because many are having to isolate not knowing whether they were infected and having to take time off work.

David McGuire, from Penryn, said he had been trying to get a test for his 12-year-old daughter who developed cold-like symptoms when she went back to school.

He spent two days trying, even setting an alarm every hour through the night to try get one online.

A test is now on its way in the post, but he told the BBC the system was a shambles.

He said: "It would be funny if it wasn't so serious, and scary, and didn't have such impacts on people.

"The kids my daughter had been at school with are still there because we haven't had a test result."

Tracey, from Plymouth, also said she had experienced problems with getting a test after developing a cough, including "trying in the middle of the night to book it, but there's been nothing at all".

One person told the BBC that, at the weekend, about 100 cars were parked in test and trace station in Exeter, with people having driven up to 115 miles to get there and "all were told to turn around and go home by distressed staff and police" because they did not have a QR code.

Conservative St Ives MP Derek Thomas said pressure could be taken off the testing system if people with no symptoms were not clogging it up.

Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the system on Tuesday, telling the BBC capacity was increasing.

Covid testing centre
BBC

Council 'inundated' with Covid testing problems

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

NHS Covid testing sign
BBC

Cornwall Council has been "inundated" with people describing problems getting a coronavirus test, a senior councillor has said.

The council appealed on Monday for people to share any difficulties they had had with the booking system, or distances they had travelled for tests, and how quickly results had come through.

The information would be used to "let the government know the issues you’re facing and where improvements need to be made," it said.

It comes as the NHS said delays meant some of its staff were off work because they were unable to get a test, causing problems for the service as winter approaches.

Schools in England were also being "severely hampered" by delays in Covid tests for teachers, head teachers added, saying it could lead to "serious staff shortages" and cause partial closures in school.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for public health Sally Hawken said people had been describing a "whole range of problems and we've actually got quite a case to make now [to the government]".

Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the system on Tuesday, telling the BBC capacity was increasing.

People in Cornwall who want to share their experiences can get in touch by direct message on the council's Facebook page, or by emailing phdesk@cornwall.gov.uk.

'Rule of Six' may 'hurt police and public's relationship'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Police Federation in Devon and Cornwall says the relationship between the public and the police risks being damaged by the new coronavirus "Rule of Six".

Under the new rules for England, which came into force on Monday, only up to six people from multiple households are allowed to meet up, applying both indoors and outdoors, and to all ages.

So, gatherings in private homes, venues such as pubs and restaurants, and in outdoor spaces such as parks are all affected.

Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Alison Hernadez said on Monday that people should call officers if they saw others breaking the new rule, which aims to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But the federation, which represents rank and file officers up to the level of chief inspector, said there was bound to be resentment if officers had to break up family gatherings or children's parties.

Local federation chairman Insp Andy Berry tweeted that officers were already "run ragged with serious incidents across the force" and policing events like children’s parties which broke the rule "cannot be a priority as well".

He told the BBC he would prefer it if it was not part of police duties.

It's not the kind of thing that we're used to doing. We're used to doing tough jobs and having hard conversations with people, but ... I don't think me and my colleagues think it is any good for our relationship with the public. I don't think the public want to see us doing it either, if I'm honest."

Insp Andy BerryChairman, Devon and Cornwall Police Federation
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Peoole in Cornwall asked for Covid-19 test experiences

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

People in Cornwall are being asked to to share their experiences of the Covid-19 testing system.

Cornwall Council said information about difficulties with the booking system, distances people had travelled for tests, and how quickly results had come through would be used to "let the government know the issues you’re facing and where improvements need to be made".

People could get in touch by direct message on the council's Facebook page, or by emailing phdesk@cornwall.gov.uk.

Council portfolio holder for public health Sally Hawken said there had been "some well-documented issues with the government’s testing programme" and she was "deeply concerned that not everyone who needs a test can access one".

She said: "We’ve heard cases of people being asked to travel miles out of Cornwall for a test, or having to wait more than a week for the results – neither of which is remotely acceptable.

“It’s clear to me that if we’re to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Cornwall, we need an efficient, easily accessible testing system. At the moment I’m not convinced we have that."

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to put in "immediate" solutions to make sure people did not have to travel more than 75 miles.

People can find more information about testing, including how and where to get a test, on Cornwall Council’s website.

People 'should call police over Rule of Six breaches'

BBC Radio Devon

People in Cornwall and Devon should call police if they see others breaking the new "Rule of Six", which aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the counties' police commissioner has said.

The rule has come into force in England, limiting the size of social gatherings to six people, including children, to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.

People will face fines of up to £3,200 if they repeatedly flout the law.

Commissioner Alison Hernandez said there were several ways to contact police, including an online web chat facility with officers in the control room.

Alison Hernandez
BBC

You should call the police if you have concerns about people having big parties in your neighbour's house. That's absolutely something you can contact the police on. ... Fundamentally, as we've always done all summer, police will use their 'Four Es' approach: engage with people, explain the rules, encourage them to comply; then, if they don't, enforce."

Alison HernandezDevon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner

Council calls for more details on Covid marshals plan

Rebecca Wills

BBC South West

Cornwall Council is calling on the government to give clearer details about plans to introduce marshals in town centres to ensure coronavirus social distancing rules are being followed.

Cornwall’s recent £500,000 Covid-19 Safer Summer Scheme involved street marshals patrolling a limited number of towns to watch for antisocial behaviour and advise on social distancing.

As the government announced plans for Covid-secure marshals, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government held up the Cornwall scheme as an example to other local authorities.

That scheme - which ends later this month - was co-funded by the council, town and parish councils, and the Devon & Cornwall Police Commissioners office; but it was very different to the government’s new initiative, which will have a completely different remit.

Cornwall Council said it was calling on the government to outline exactly how its scheme would work, and whether any resources will be provided by the Treasury to back it.

Cornwall Council public safety cabinet member Rob Nolan said the government needed to fund the new scheme.

NHS Spitfire takes to South West skies

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

People at Falmouth hospital looking up at the sky
BBC

Residents in Devon and Cornwall ventured out of their homes to catch a sight of the NHS Spitfire on Saturday.

The plane has the words "Thank U NHS" hand-written across its body to celebrate the work of healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The spitfire flew over many of the south west's hospitals including Torbay, Derriford, the Royal Cornwall Hospital, and Newquay, before landing in the town's airport.

The public are now being given the chance to have their own names written on the spitfire in return for a donation.

NHS Thank U Spitfire
George Lewis Romain
People stood looking up into the sky
BBC

Coronavirus: Rule of Six on gatherings comes into force

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Bantham beach
BBC

Rules have come into force in England, limiting the size of social gatherings to six people, including children, to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

People will face fines of up to £3,200 if they repeatedly flout the law.

The new "Rule of Six" will deal a hammer blow to self catering businesses in Devon, according to the chairman of the South West Tourism Alliance.

Alistair Handyside, who also owns holiday cottages in East Devon, also told the BBC that what mattered now was what would happen over the next few weeks in the run-up to the festive season.

He said: "If we don't get December with Christmas and New Year, which are peak weeks, we will see carnage, we honestly will."

The government said the new rule "simplifies and strengthens the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce" in its bid to tackle coronavirus, which had seen a recent "rapid increase in the number of daily positive cases".

Councillors agree consultation on Tamar tolls rise

Jenny Kumah

BBC South West politics reporter

Tamar Bridge
BBC

Councillors have agreed to start a public consultation on raising Tamar crossing tolls to deal with a £400,000 deficit caused by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the plans the prepaid tag would increase from £1 to £1.20 in January. The cash toll would rise 20%, from £2 to £2.40 from 2022.

They've also agreed to lobby the government for support and to halt or reduce the increases if the financial situation improves.

The proposals now have to be ratified by Plymouth's and Cornwall's cabinets before being voted on by all their elected members.

'Fantastic encounter' with whale off Cornish coast

Whale
Rupert Kirkwood

A kayaker has had a "fantastic encounter" with a 30ft (9m) Minke Whale off the Cornish coast.

Rupert Kirkwood said: "Fantastic prolonged encounter with a 30ft Minke Whale from my kayak yesterday, five miles off the coast of Fowey.

"I watched it for about an hour. Sideshow of Dolphins, Giant Tuna, Porpoises."

Whale
Rupert Kirkwood
Whale
Rupert Kirkwood

Calls for eviction ban to be extended until end of 2020

BBC Radio Cornwall

There are calls in Cornwall for an extension on the ban on landlords evicting tenants during the pandemic.

When lockdown began the government announced a "complete ban on evictions" until the end of August - which was then extended until 20 September.

Now a senior Cornwall councillor wants the deadline moved again to the end of 2020.

But Hillary Burkitt from the housing charity Shelter says that ignores the real problem of finding affordable homes.

"We can keep moving the goal posts on this but ultimately we need more financial support available because its not solving the underlying problem that people aren't able to afford their rent."

Cornwall Council tax bills to rise by at least £30 a year

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Households in Cornwall will see their council tax bills rise by at least £30 a year next April.

Cornwall Council has published its first report on its budget plans for 2021/22 which include raising council tax bills by 1.99%.

This would mean a Band D property seeing their bill rise by £31.60 in April – paying about an extra 60p a week for council services.

The 1.99% increase would be the maximum allowed under current government guidelines – any higher increase would have to be subject of a referendum.

However the final increase will be higher still as the 1.99% is only for the share taken by Cornwall Council.

The final council tax bills will also include payments to Devon and Cornwall Police and town or parish councils.

There could be an additional payment to Cornwall Council if the government allows local authorities to include extra funding for adult social care.

In recent years Cornwall Council has added an additional 2% increase which has gone directly to funding adult social care services in the Duchy.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet will have its first discussions about the budget plans when it meets on Wednesday.

Early morning call if you want Covid-19 test, says MP

BBC Radio Cornwall

People are reportedly struggling to access Covid-19 tests in Cornwall, or are having to wait for days if not weeks.

North Cornwall MP Scott Mann said people have been getting in touch saying they have had trouble getting tested.

But Mr Mann told BBC Radio Cornwall tests are available - but it means making an early morning telephone call as they occur in batches from 08:00.

"So we are advising people to get on the call as quickly as possible if they want a test," he said.

Government criticised for failing to promote Cornish

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The government has been criticised by the Council of Europe for failing to carry out its responsibilities in promoting the Cornish language.

A new report has been published which criticises the government’s approach to minority languages including Cornish, Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

In reference to the Cornish language the Council of Europe says the government should “devolve the necessary responsibilities to Cornwall Council enabling it to effectively promote Cornish”.

Cornish embassy bus
Richard Whitehouse/LDRS

A series of findings have been published as part of the report on what the council believes needs to be done to further promote Cornish.

They include the provision of forms and means for the teaching and study of Cornish at all appropriate stages and the promotion of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to Cornish among the objectives of education and training.

The government is yet to comment.

Car found in search for missing 24-year-old Truro woman

Police have confirmed the car belonging to a missing 24-year-old woman has been found.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they had "ceased active searches" for Julia Williams who was reported missing on Friday from the Budleigh Salteron area, although originally from Truro.

Officers said they had "no active leads" for Julia's whereabouts, but urged the public to report any new information to the force.

They added the investigation would remain open until she was "found either safe or well, or a body is located".

'Small number' of Covid-19 cases in Falmouth

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall Council and the police are investigating a "small number" of Covid-19 cases in Falmouth possibly linked to local pubs and nightclubs.

In a statement Public Health Cornwall said it was "'working with several night time establishments to provide advice and check appropriate measures are being adhered to".

Director of Public Health for the council Dr Rachel Wigglesworth said they did not think there were any further cases linked, but the authorities were doing "routine follow ups".

She confirmed most of the venues in Falmouth were following the rules and "doing a good job" and no more than five coronavirus cases had been linked to the cluster and no-one had been hospitalised.

Dr Wigglesworth explained part of the reason for this was due to most new coronavirus cases being predominantly among younger people, who are less likely to be vulnerable or become seriously ill.

"We are seeing that rising tide nationally, which we are likely to see a bit more of in Cornwall, but at the moment we're in a really good situation."

"We want to make sure the venues adhere and encourage the right sorts of behaviour to allow people to go out, but to do it safely."

Tracy Higginbottom said she had never experienced such aggression in more than 20 years
Tracy Higginbottom said she had never experienced such aggression in more than 20 years of service.

Council's Brussels office a 'curious decision'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The government has questioned the operation of an office in Brussels by Cornwall Council, after the issue was raised in the House of Commons by the Conservative MP for East Cornwall Sheryll Murray.

Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams said it was a "curious decision" to have the office as the UK has left the EU.

However, he acknowledged the "decision to operate overseas is one for Cornwall Council" and it was for the voters to decide if the office is a "good idea and and a good use of taxpayers' money".

Tamar crossings face Covid toll rise and ferry service cut

Jenny Kumah

BBC South West politics reporter

Tamar Bridge
BBC

Councillors are considering raising the price of tolls on the Tamar Bridge and cuts to the Torpoint-Plymouth ferry service because of the financial impact of coronavirus.

These are two of the proposals due to be discussed at a meeting on Friday of the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee to respond to an estimated £400,000 deficit caused by suspended charges during the Covid lockdown and decreased traffic flows.

Under the plan, the Tamar Tag discount scheme charge would rise from £1 to £1.20 per crossing in January. An application would also be made to the government to increase cash tolls from £2 to £2.40 in 2023 for drivers not using the scheme.

A report to the committee is also warning of a forecast £15m deficit by 2025.

The routes between Devon and Cornwall are operated by the committee on behalf of Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council.

Emergency services warn about 999 and 111 use

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Devon and Cornwall Police are asking people to be careful of so-called pocket dialling on mobile phones after a number of recent incidents of problems with people calling 999 by accident.

Officers said they received such 999 calls every day and were asking people to lock their screens before putting phones in pockets.

They said it was also important to supervise children if they were playing on a phone.

Police also asked people not to hang up if they dialled 999 in error, and instead speak to the operator so they knew the caller was safe.

Meanwhile, the Royal Cornwall Hospital has said it had seen an increase in the number of people turning up at its emergency department rather than contacting the NHS's 111 service first.

Hospital staff turned to social media over the weekend to reiterate the message that the 111 system helped them manage arrivals and maintain social distancing while the hospital was running at reduced capacity.

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