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'Eco-friendly' Reef Cubes could pave way for wind farms

BBC Radio Devon

New man-made reefs are being tested in Torbay which could help restore depleted marine habitats and encourage new ones.


ARC Marine, which has installed a number of its Reef Cubes near Thatcher Rock, have identified at least 17 species which are inhabiting the new reefs, including lobsters and crabs.

Offshore wind farms are interested in using the technology as an environmentally friendly way of stabilising the turbines underwater.


Devon and Cornwall weather: fine and dry day

BBC Weather

Early cloud, mist and fog patches will clear quickly this morning leaving a fine and dry day with some prolonged periods of sunshine, although a little low cloud could linger around some windward facing coasts for a little longer this morning.

Winds will be light, occasionally moderate east or southeasterly. Feeling warm.

Max: 24°C .

Weather map

Technology helps detect water leakages

BBC Radio Cornwall

South West Water is aiming to increase detection of leaks in its network by 80%.

The company hopes that increasingly sophisticated technology will help identify issues before they become a problem.

Every year South West Water spends £11 million fixing more than 10,000 leaks on 9,000 miles of network.


Wayne Arscott is SWW leakage delivery manager: "Through the technology we actually find these leaks before the customer experiences low pressure."

At the moment, he said, 50 to 55% of leakages are detected but SWW wants to get that to 60 to 80%.

Cornwall and Devon weather: Cloudy at times

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Early mist patches will clear and it will become cloudy at times this morning.

There is also the chance of a few spots of light rain but this afternoon the cloud will break to give some bright or sunny periods and it will become mainly dry.


Winds will be mainly light or moderate from the south west.

Max Temp: 17 to 20C (63 to 68F)

South West weather: Dry and breezy

BBC Weather

Wednesday night will be dry and breezy at times with clear periods, though cloud will tend to thicken towards dawn.

Rather breezy on Thursday, with the odd light shower or spot of rain possible in the morning.

A generally drier afternoon with lengthier sunny spells.





Masked men steal £50k of gold jewellery

BBC Radio Devon

Police are appealing for information after an elderly couple were confronted by two masked men in their house in Torquay and more than £50,000 of gold jewellery was stolen.

It happened in the Livermead area of the town at about 23:30 on 10 August.

The men were wearing black masks covering the bottom of their faces.

Both are described as dark-skinned with English accents, but they were able to speak in another language "similar to Urdu".

Detectives said they believed the burglary was linked to a series of similar offences across the region.

Plymouth campaign gives children tombstoning alternatives

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Plymouth City Council has been encouraging children to take part in "safer adrenaline-based activities", and away from tombstoning.

In the third year of the campaign, youngsters have been pushed towards hobbies such as coasteering and slacklining as alternatives.

Tombstoning involves jumping off cliffs, piers, or harbour walls into water, but the dangers are increased with tide depths changing and objects hidden beneath the surface moving constantly.

It is currently legal, but by-laws have been created on some bridges to prevent jumping.

Tombstoning can be very dangerous and risks include death or life-changing injuries, submerged objects such as rocks which may not be visible, and the shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim. It may also be difficult to get out of the water, and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away."

Councillor Sally HaydonPlymouth County Council

Residents object to new power plant

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Nearly 200 people have objected to plans for a new gas-fired power station in Devon, saying it contradicts the climate emergency which has just been declared in the area.

A company called Sage Power wants to build the power station at Heathfield, just next to the A38.

It says the station won't run all the time, but will come on when there are shortages of power; and this will help the transition to a low carbon energy system.

But many disagree - including Mike Barron who lives nearby...

If Teignbridge Council is minded to pass this, then they ought to stand up and be counted, because they've declared a climate emergency, they haven't actually proved that this power station is needed. I just think that they should totally and completely reject it.

Mike BarronLocal resident

Future challenges to South West Water supplies outlined

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online


South West Water is facing significant challenges with climate change and the increasing demand for supply, bosses say.

Thousands of new homes are being built in the South West every year, while the population expands over the summer with tourists.

According to the company's head of water resources, Rob Scarrott, the "very high demands" over the summer grows by as much as 30%.

Wimbleball Reservoir on Exmoor is refilled in the winter months by pumping water from downstream to ensure it's full for the summer.

Mr Scarrot said that climate change and population growth would affect water supplies in the coming decades.

"The environment is going to look quite different that what we have today, and we need to plan for that," he said.

However, he added that the company planned 25 years in advance and was "confident" that it had the plans in place for this period.

South West Water provides water and sewerage services to Devon and Cornwall, plus small parts of Dorset and Somerset.

South West Water

Torbay residents fund gate to keep out travellers

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Local residents have paid for a new gate in an attempt to prevent travellers returning to a popular open space near Torquay seafront.

Work has been carried out to install a metal barrier and shore up earth banks alongside Ilsham Green.

A group of travellers drove onto the land near Meadfoot Beach and spent about a week there at the end of June.

Another group later occupied land nearby at Ilsham Marine Drive.

Wellswood Conservative councillor James O’Dwyer said the work had been paid for by residents in consultation with landowner Torbay Council and the local community partnership.

Gate in front of field

Cllr O’Dwyer said a freeze on non-budgeted spending meant the council had been unable to provide funding.

He said: “This came about because some travellers went onto the green at the beginning of the summer.

“There had been a gate which was removed a number of years ago. This is a replacement to make it harder should people try to go onto public land.”

Torbay Council confirmed it had given permission for the gate to be installed on its land.

The council has reported groups of travellers this week at Clennon Valley and the overflow car park at Broadsands in Paignton.

Torbay has no designated travellers' site so the council has to follow a two-week legal process to remove any unauthorised encampment on public land.

Fire bosses accused of dodging council scrutiny panel

BBC Spotlight

Fire bosses are being accused of rejecting an offer to discuss plans to close eight rural fire stations in Devon and Somerset with the relevant scrutiny committee of Devon County Council.

Councillor Martin Shaw said he was "outraged" by a "refusal of the fire authority to face public scrutiny".

He has asked the chair of the scrutiny committee, Councillor Alistair Dewhirst, to invite other people affected by the closures to present instead, and prepare a report on the proposals.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said when it launched a public consultation that it wanted to bring an outdated service into the 21st Century and fire incidents in both areas had decreased 36% between 2008 and 2018.

On Tuesday, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pete Bond said that he thought the public consultation was going "very well", and rejected claims that it was confusing and should be suspended.

Fire engine

Quantocks cafe destroyed in overnight fire

Cafe fire
Tom Williams

A cafe building in the Quantocks which was built nearly 100 years ago has been destroyed in a fire.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it received reports of the blaze at . Pines Cafe, Buncombe Hill, near Broomfield in the early hours.

Three fire engines from Taunton, Bridgwater and Nether Stowey attended the scene.

A spokesman said upon arrival the crews confirmed the premises were well alight and requested the attendance of two further crews, who from Taunton and Bridgwater.

He said three quarters of the property was damaged by fire before it was brought under control. No cause has yet been established.

The building's owners told BBC Somerset that it was built in 1922, and has been used as a café since 1956.

Rudd defends Universal Credit during SW visit

Jenny Kumah

BBC South West politics reporter

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has defended the government's controversial Universal Credit scheme during a visit to the South West.

The scheme, which replaces six benefits, is years behind schedule, linked to rise in food bank use and rent arrears, and critics claim it might make millions poorer.

Ms Rudd argued that it was "more secure and transparent" than previous benefits systems.

She was visiting the region on Tuesday, announcing she intended to put £100,000 into a scheme to train Jobcentre staff to help people with mental health problems.

Of the new mental health support, she said: "Individuals who go into the Jobcentre now get personalised support from a work coach who will put their interest first."

With the visit coming just one day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson came to Cornwall, it has fuelled speculation that a general election campaign is imminent.

Amber Rudd

South West weather: Dry, bright and sunny

BBC Weather

A good deal of dry and bright weather with sunny spells on Wednesday, although a scattering of light showers or spots of rain also seems likely.

Maximum temperature: 17 to 20C (63 to 68F).





Government 'to offset' impact of no-deal Brexit on farming

BBC Spotlight

A no-deal Brexit could cost the farming industry £850m a year in lost profits as a whole, according to new research conducted by farm business consultants Andersons.

The research concludes that, without a significant increase in government support, some farms could struggle to survive leaving the EU without a deal.

However, the government has said it will provide support to boost some sectors in the "unlikely event" it's required.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - and Cornwall MP - George Eustice said that, if tariffs were imposed, the government was "looking at supporting" the farming industry to "offset" the impacts of leaving without an agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described leaving the EU as an "historic opportunity" to introduce new schemes to support the industry.

Farmer in field

Hundreds object to new Torquay seafront hotel plan

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Almost 300 objections have been made to new plans for a six-storey hotel on the seafront at Torquay.

A second application to demolish and replace the Corbyn Head Hotel at Livermead was submitted after the first was rejected by Torbay Council’s planning committee.

The 307 public comments made during consultation on revised £20m plans include 282 against and 17 in support.

Councillors narrowly rejected the first scheme in June on the grounds its height and size would be out of character with the area and there was not enough parking.

A new application was lodged in July which reduced the height of the 152-bed four star hotel with spa and rooftop bar by 1m, changed the design and provided new information on parking, traffic and transport.

The architects say the design changes and new information should allow it to now go ahead.

But objectors maintain the new application for a building up to 20m high does not go far enough to overcome the reasons for refusal.

Planning officers recommended approval and said it was similar to other large buildings along the seafront.

The application is expected to be considered by the council’s planning committee in the next few months.

The Corbyn Head Hotel is one of four sites in Torbay bought for redevelopment by the Singapore-based Fragrance Group.

Corbyn Head Hotel plans

Devon & Somerset fire cuts: Consultation 'going very well'

Ben Woolvin

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent

Devon and Somerset's assistant chief fire officer says he understands the passionate response from people to proposals to close seven stations in the county, but the bulk of the service's work now is prevention.

A public consultation on the changes has one month left to run.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it wanted to bring an outdated service into the 21st Century.

Pete Bond said the consultation was going "very well, with 1,000 responses".

He also rejected claims from one local councillor that it was confusing and should be suspended.

Fire engine

We haven't had any responses which say people don't understand the options or are not able to make a response to us. When we're talking to people at the public drop-in exhibitions, we're getting clear conversations with them. I think, overall, we followed everything we should have done in making this a valid consultation. I think that's been proven in the results we're getting."

Pete BondAssistant Chief Fire Officer, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Devon and Cornwall weather: Cloud and scattered showers

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

It is likely to become more cloudy during the evening with a few showers moving in close to the north coast.

Elsewhere, mist patches may develop and winds from the south west will be mainly light or moderate.

Minimum temperature: 9C to 12C

weather map

On Wednesday it will be cloudy with some scattered light showers in the morning and some early sunshine.

Brighter spells should increase during the day and light or moderate south westerly winds will hit the north coast.

Maximum temperature: 15C to 19C

Watchdog investigating girl's death after MRI scan

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

The circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old Devon girl following an MRI scan are to be investigated by a national watchdog, it has been confirmed.

Alice Sloman, from Torbay, had autism and was given an anaesthetic for the scan at at Torbay Hospital after becoming "extremely anxious" and "hypersensitive".

But a hormone given for a growth defect led to an undiagnosed condition which enlarged her heart and put her at danger when anaesthetised.

She died in Bristol Children's Hospital in October 2018, three days after becoming suddenly unwell during the scan.

Alice Sloman

Torbay Hospital referred the case to the the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB).

The HSIB has now published an interim report, confirming an investigation into aspects of how hospitals support children with special needs, and their families, when a general anaesthetic was required.

It will also look at the procedures that staff follow if the young person becomes unwell under anaesthetic.

We will continue to provide whatever information we can to support that review."

Dr Rob Dyer MedicalMedical Director, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Torquay pub's licence revoked after glass attack

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

White Hart Inn, Torquay

Councillors have decided to remove a pub’s licence after a customer was badly injured in an attack involving a glass and pool cue.

Doctors feared the victim might lose his eye after the assault at the White Hart Inn in Temperance Street, Torquay.

Details of the incident emerged at a hearing of Torbay Council’s licensing sub-committee.

Councillors decided to revoke the pub’s premises licence held by Cheshire-based Admiral Taverns.

The company has 21 days to appeal to the magistrates’ court which would put the decision on hold until the case is resolved.

Councillors were told the pub was the third worst for reported crime in the town centre in recent years.

No one from Admiral Taverns attended the hearing, but solicitor Jasmine Clamp said on its behalf that the pub was for sale and the company was offering a voluntary three-month suspension of the licence.

Plymouth animation boot camp for young people with autism

BBC Spotlight

Young people with autism are being given a taste of what it's like to work in the animation industry.

The University of Plymouth is hosting a summer animation boot camp and it's the first of its kind in the UK.

Students from all over the country are shown how to create their very own animation from story board concepts to a finished short film.

Joe Westlake is from Danimation UK...

Devon and Cornwall weather: Mainly dry with sunny spells

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

weather map

Tuesday will remain dry for many places with spells of sunshine.

Some cloud will build at times and there will also be a few scattered showers.

There will be light or moderate west or northwesterly winds which will turn towards the south west by the end of the day.

Maximum temperature: 16C to 19C.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Clear spells and easing winds

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Remaining showers will largely die away, leading to a mostly dry Monday evening with clear spells.

Northwesterly winds will also ease and become light or moderate.

Minimum temperature: 8C to 12C.


On Tuesday, the day will start with sunny spells apart from a very isolated shower.

However, the cloud will build during the morning and some scattered outbreaks of showery rain will move in from the west, although most places will be dry again by the evening.

Winds will turn to the southwest and will become mainly light or moderate.

Maximum temperature: 15C to 19C.

Neck tube experiment measures gas emitted by farm animals

Adrian Campbell

BBC South West environment correspondent

A scientific trial is under way on a farm in Devon to measure how much methane is produced by cattle and sheep.

Farming and climate change expert Professor Tom Misselbrook said it was estimated grazing animals produce just 5% of the UK's total greenhouse gases.

It is hoped plastic tubes placed around cows' necks on the farm near Okehampton will help give an accurate measurement of how much methane they are emitting from their mouths.

Methane gas is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to heating up the atmosphere, and researchers have been looking for ways to reduce gas emissions from the animals.


When the animal burps or breathes, and we're getting some methane coming out, we're sampling that ... and capturing that.

We're also very interested in measuring the methane emissions from our cattle and sheep here, potentially methane from the soil ... and nitrous oxide emissions, so nitrous oxide is another greenhouse gas, which can arise from manures, fertilisers and from dung and urine from the grazing animal."

Professor Tom MisselbrookFarming and climate change expert

Boy, 13, with autism 'failed by mental health services'

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

Joe Rickman

A mother from Devon says her teenage son has been repeatedly failed by authorities because he has both autism and mental health problems.

Joe Rickman, 13, has developed severe anxiety and depression in the last 18 months.

Sarah Rickman

His mother, Sarah Rickman, from Honiton, said early intervention by the child and adolescent mental health service (Camhs) could have helped.

The consortium that provides those services, Children and Family Health Devon, said it was working to improve care for children with both autism and mental health problems but Ms Rickman said she struggled to get proper answers from anyone.

"He has been passed from pillar to post," she said.

"The local Camhs see it predominantly as an autism-related problem.

"They are very reluctant to admit that he has co-morbid problems of anxiety and and depression (and) there are very long waiting lists."

Devon and Cornwall weather: Showers and sunny spells

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

weather map

Monday will see some scattered showers and spells of sunshine.

Some of these showers may be heavy and possibly thundery before becoming increasing isolated towards the evening.

There will be moderate or fresh winds from the west or northwest and some stronger winds around the coast and within the showers.

Maximum temperature: 15C to 18C.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Yellow warning for rain

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Today will be generally cloudy and, although many places will be dry initially, outbreaks of showery rain will become more persistent throughout the morning and also heavy at times.

Cloud will lower to cover high ground and southwesterly winds will become strong to near gale force.

Maximum temperature:16 to 19C (61 to 66F)


Triple amputee Mark Ormrod 'humbled' by university honour

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A former Royal Marine from Plymouth, who lost both legs and an arm in Afghanistan, is set to have an honorary doctorate of laws conferred upon him.

Mark Ormrod says he is "humbled" after receiving a letter from the University of Exeter.

"You know some days when I wake up and things are going wrong, I think to myself ‘What did I do in a previous life that was so bad to make times in my life so challenging?’," he said.

"And then other days I wake up and I think to myself ‘I must have done a couple of good things in that previous life to get so lucky'."

In September, the triple amputee was awarded an honorary degree at Plymouth University.

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Heavy rain expected across Devon and Cornwall

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A yellow weather warning for heavy rain across Devon and Cornwall has been issued.

The Met Office said the warning comes in force from 08:00 on Friday.

More information can be found here.

Weather warning
Met Office

Devon and Cornwall weather: Dry with sunny spells

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

It will be cloudy at times this morning with some scattered showers, but it will become mostly dry and brighter as sunny spells develop and the showers become increasingly isolated.

Moderate or fresh west to northwesterly winds will ease and turn to the southwest later.

Maximum temperature: 17 to 20C (63 to 68F)

weather map

Devon 'facing economic shock from no-deal Brexit'

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A council leader has warned that Devon is facing an economic shock due to a no-deal Brexit.

Plymouth’s Labour leader Tudor Evans revealed the government is asking local authorities to help businesses hit by exiting the EU.

He said the council would do what it could, but it had no spare cash to support local firms affected by the expected disruption to trade if the UK leaves without a deal on 31 October.

Mr Evans also said ministers had still not decided how to share out £20m allocated to local authorities nationwide to deal with Brexit-related costs.

He was reporting back to the city council’s cabinet after taking part in an online broadcast from ministers on Tuesday morning.

Plymouth City Council House

The unitary council leader said that the only option discussed was leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

He said: “They basically said that it would be our job to help small businesses through the economic shock of a no-deal Brexit.”

He said the council would work with partners in business groups to provide support but warned that it no longer had the flexibility for major intervention after losing £100m in funding cuts in recent years due to austerity.

The government says the £20m extra funding is on top of £58m committed to councils in January to prepare for Brexit.

It says it has asked councils to get ready to leave the EU on 31 October and will assess and fund potential new requirements they identify.

Weather Watchers: A cloudy start in Devon and Cornwall

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

Both Devon and Cornwall are having damp, windy and cloudy starts on Wednesday, as these picture from two of our Weather Watchers are showing.

But it will be drier this afternoon and also brighter at times.

Mawgan Porth by Dammo
Uncle Fester

Have you any pictures you want to share with us? If so, please email them in.

Reports of transgender hate crime 'almost triples' since 2016

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Bex Mercer, a Transgender woman from Plymouth, has received verbal abuse in public a number of times.

The South West has seen a threefold increase in reported hate crimes against transgender people over the past three years.

There were 86 crimes recorded in the region in 2018, compared to 30 in 2016.

Devon and Cornwall police claim that the rise is largely explained by better reporting and recording of the incidents.

However, concerns remain that the figures are still lower than the reality, because many victims may still be reluctant to report incidents to the authorities.

Insp Sally Kingdon from Devon and Cornwall Police said the force's community links indicated that the incidents likely only represented the "tip of the iceberg".

"We genuinely want to encourage reporting so we can understand what's happening and where, so we can do something about it", she added.

LGBT charity the Intercom Trust has called for greater public awareness and understanding.

Andy Hunt from the charity said there was "a lot more" hate crime in public discourse and politics, especially online.