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Ambulance collision numbers rise


The number of collisions involving ambulances in the West has risen.

Nearly 800 were recorded last year, around 200 more than in 2016.

South Western Ambulance Service says it has invested in technology to help learn from accidents and support drivers.

It added the overall figure represented less than 1% of the calls the service attend each year.

Student video hopes to raise awareness of knife crime issues

Student film

Wiltshire Police is expanding on the work of a national campaign about knife crime.

College students from the county have produced a film to help raise awareness of the issues.

There will be additional knife amnesty bins across Wiltshire and instead of the nationwide week of action the force will run its campaign for a fortnight.

BBC local radio headlines for the West

Radio studio

Radio Bristol: A BBC investigation has found a waste company, close to fly-infested homes in Avonmouth, breached environmental rules 16 times in a year.

BBC Somerset: Avon and Somerset Police are trying something new in an attempt to reduce knife crime. It is putting teenagers through an intensive week-long course in which they are shown the brutal reality, often in shocking detail.

Radio Gloucestershire: A new scanner is being donated to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital that will revolutionise treatment for thousands of children. The AccuVein is being donated by the family of nine-year-old Henry Bromberg who died in 2016 from a rare heart condition.

BBC Wiltshire: There's been a cyber attack at Swindon College. Bosses say the hackers got access to information about former staff and students after breaking into the computer system. Police are investigating.

EU rights group raises concerns about Settled Status for EU workers

Maike Bohn
Maike Bohn says people are struggling to understand the implications of Settled Status

Just under half of Bristol's 21,000 EU citizens have applied to try and secure their rights after Brexit.

EU citizens in the city are being offered free help and are being encouraged to apply for Settled Status.

But the government's scheme has been criticised by a campaign group called the 3million, who fight for EU citizens rights. They say people are struggling.

Co-founder of 3million, Maike Bohn said: "Settled status is neither secure nor permanent, nor that easy to understand or maintain.

"There's so much uncertainty and confusion and that's why people panic and that's why people are deeply worried for one reason or another."

Home Office MP Brandon Lewis, says the system is "working very well" and thousands of people are applying to gain this status.

Recycling rules clarified after woman told to 'bin' box


Recycling guidelines have been clarified after information was wrongly given to a woman in Chippenham about how to get rid of her broken black recycling box.

Harriet Jany, from Chippenham, crtiticised their recycling policy after she was told to dump her black box by Wiltshire Council, despite their own policies proving that the box can in fact be recycled.

She was told on social media and on the phone by council staff her broken recycling bin lid must go in the main bin, but deputy leader of the council Richard Clewer has confirmed that bins are actually eco friendly.

Cllr Clewer said: “We will make sure that the correct information is now given out, because the black boxes can definitely be recycled. When we deliver new bins, we are meant to collect the broken lids and boxes too.

“Once we have enough we auction them to waste providers , who then pay us money to take them and recycled them. As a council we are conscious of how we get rid of our waste, it must be done correctly.”

Ms Jany said: “I am pleased this was taken seriously and they can be recycled. However I still feel that delivering a whole new box when someone only needs a new lid is wasteful.”

Council plans for 'polling station clashes'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Drills are set to be carried out by emergency services to plan for clashes between voters at polling stations ahead of a possible general election in the near future.

Despite being a historically peaceful county on voting day, Wiltshire Council’s senior leader and returning officer Carlton Brand says months of Brexit speculation mean emotions could run high.

He said: “We are set to have practices with police and fire services in case there is any civil unrest at polling stations. Parliament has made this argument personal and things have got very nasty in Westminster, and if we do crash out of the EU on October 31 who do now know what may happen.”

A Brexit candidate has already hit out after being told to move his campaign stand in Malmesbury last Saturday. Brexiteer Les Willis claims Cllr Gavin Grant, who is a member of the Lib Dems, forced him to move his stand to block democracy.

However Cllr Grant said he reacted on safety concerns because the stand was set up on double yellow lines. Wiltshire Council is also planning for Brexit and has a team of officers crunching the numbers over what a possible no deal could mean for the county.

Despite almost daily changes in predictions for a general election date, experts think November could be the month one now takes place.

PM Boris Johnson needs to give councils just 25 days notice to hold an election, and anyone not yet registered to vote has been urged to register soon rather than risk missing out on having their say.

Wiltshire has five MPs to vote in and will cost £1m to organise, with the responsibility falling on Wiltshire Council to foot the bill and claim the money back later from central government.. The local authority claims back 90-95 per cent of the cash, but always has to foot some of the bill.

Bid to curb air pollution in Salisbury city centre

Queens Street, Salisbury
Stephen Craven, Geograph

New proposals have been put forward to pedestrianise more of Salisbury city centre.

It is to try and minimise air pollution. It could involve permanently closing Queen Street to vehicles.

That could be extended to another three roads in the future.

Salisbury City Council has also announced plans to install more water fountains across the city.

Police appeal after man killed in crash

police accident sign

Wiltshire police are asking witnesses to come forward after a fatal road collision.

The incident happened at 5.10pm on the A361 in Beckhampton, 10 September and involved a silver Kia Rio car and a black Ford Ranger.

The 83-year-old, male driver of the Kia car, sustained serious injuries and died at the scene.

The road was closed for six hours while emergency services attended the scene.

Police have asked any witnesses to the incident or anyone with information to contact PC Pete Williamson at the Collision Investigation Team on 101.

the A361

A303 in Wiltshire closed westbound

A crash between two lorries has led to the closure of the A303 in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said they were called at 3.13pm.

He said: "We have sent several resources to the scene, including a land ambulance and air ambulance, and are treating one male patient on scene.

The road has reopened eastbound but remains closed westbound.

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South West unemployment drops 2.5%

BBC Business News

Unemployment in the South West has continued to fall to a low of less than 2.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest 2.4% figure of people aged 16-64 unemployed between May and July 2019 is lower than the UK-wide figure of just under 3.8%.

The official figures also showed earnings nationally grew at an annual pace of 3.8%.

The ONS said rising employment was being driven mainly by more women in work, partly due to the rise in the state pension age.

South West unemployment

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, from J16 for A3102 Swindon Road to J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound from J16, A3102 (Swindon West) to J15, A346 (Swindon East), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Radio presenter
  • BBC Radio Bristol: A 17-year-old boy is due before magistrates this morning - in connection with the stabbing of a Bristol newsagent.
  • BBC Gloucestershire: Plans for a new early morning train serving Cam and Dursley station have been welcomed by transport campaigners.
  • BBC Somerset: Over the past four years more than 160 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.
  • BBC Wiltshire: The parents of a Calne teenager who was murdered are meeting the home secretary later. Ellie Gould died of stab wounds in May.

Swindon's bog snorkelling champ on his 'bonkers sport'

Press Association

Bog snorkeller, Neil Rutter
PA Media

Neil Rutter is one of the UK's most successful athletes, with three world titles to his name - yet hardly anyone has heard of him.

Mr Rutter is the world champion of the very unusual sport of bog snorkelling.

For the past three years the art teacher, from Swindon, Wiltshire, has propelled himself to victory along a narrow channel of filthy water 60 yards long.

Scores of people make the pilgrimage to Llanwrtyd Wells in mid-Wales each year to take on the challenge. Daredevils don flippers, wetsuits, masks and snorkels before plunging in and swimming two lengths of the squalid trench.

But none of them come close to matching Mr Rutter's times in this uniquely British competition.

"Bog snorkelling is completely bonkers, it's just completely nuts, " he said.

"You're swimming through mud and the atmosphere's hilarious and everyone has a great time," he told BBC Inside Out West.

"You'll be bumping into the reeds and the muddy edges of the bog, and if you stand in it your feet sink into this disconcerting squelchy mess.

"Your mind will conjure up all sorts. So you'll be like: was that an eel? Do we have eels in bogs?"

Despite these trials, Mr Rutter made sure he defended his bog snorkelling title at the world championships in August.

"I love things that are a little bit daft," he said. "I like the crazy stuff, anything that's a bit quirky captures my imagination."

You can see Mr Rutter's bog snorkelling escapades on BBC One West at 7.30pm on Monday - and Inside Out presenter Sabet Choudhury also having a go at this unusual sport.

Bog snorkeller Neil Rutter (r) and presenter Sabet Choudhury
PA Media
Sabet (l) having a go at bog snorkelling with world champion Neil Rutter
Trespassers film themselves at airport
Two so-called urban explorers filmed themselves on the roof of a plane and posted the footage online.

Plastic filler for potholes plan put on hold

Plans to consider using plastic to fill potholes across Wiltshire’s roads have been put on hold after concerns were raised that microplastics could end up in the county’s chalk rivers.

Last year Councillor Brian Mathew passed a motion calling on the council to look into work in other councils recycling plastic by using it to fill potholes and cracks in roads.

Other local authorities have already started using MR6 filler made from plastic to replace bitumen traditionally used to fill potholes.

The material, while believed to be durable, raised concerns for Wiltshire Council’s Environment Committee, who said there was not enough evidence to ensure that parts of the plastic could not split away and travel to into the chalk rivers nearby.

Councillor Mike Hewitt added: “We are looking at the best rivers in the world now noticeably having plastic in them. It is environmentally wrong to put plastic on roads where first thing they’d do is sift out into rivers.

"Before we go along this route we seriously need to think about where the final bit of plastic ends up. We know grit finishes up in rivers, our chalk streams are precious and we shouldn’t start risking polluting our water until we know it is 100% safe.”

The committee agreed to continue to wait until more research had been carried out before considering the item again.

We need to be very careful of unintended consequences. We don’t know the full extent of the life cycle of this product and what damage it can do to water courses. I urge caution particularly in the very special areas of conservation in the county.

Bridget WaymanCabinet member for roads

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, at J16 for A3102 Swindon Road.

M4 Wiltshire - M4 lane closed on exit slip road eastbound at J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Police chief backs officer safety review

The Police Federation's Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously

An urgent national review into the safety of police officers is to be carried out after a rise in assaults on officers.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation chair Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously.

DIY SOS celebrates 20 years

The DIY SOS team

It's been 20 years since Nick Knowles and the team first issued a call to arms and recruited friends, family and local trades to help transform the homes of families across Britain.

In a special programme tonight Nick takes to the road to catch up with families and communities featured over the past two decades and to find out what happened after the cameras left.

BBC local radio headlines

Radio studio

BBC Radio Bristol: A review into the clean air zone for Bath has been published by the local council - with another round of consultation starting later this month.

BBC Wiltshire: Swindon's Prospect Hospice still 'Requires Improvement' - but things have got better, according to a Care Quality Commission report out this morning.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Severn Trent has brought in temporary traffic lights to try to reduce delays on the A40 at Highnam.

BBC Somerset: Plans for nuclear waste from power stations around the country to be brought to Hinkley Point in Somerset could be approved later.

Hospice still 'requires improvement' say inspectors

Prospect Hospice

Prospect Hospice, near Swindon still "requires improvement" but is "making progress", the Care Quality Commission has said.

In its report released today, the care watchdog said the hospice had been rated "good" for caring but requires improvement for being "safe, effective, responsive and well-led".

This is the third visit by inspectors to the hospice, after "serious concerns" were raised during a previous inspection in February 2018.

Irene Watkins, from the hospice, said she was "pleased" the report "recognises the steps we’re taking".

"However, it’s disappointing that despite this evidence, the CQC did not feel able to recognise those improvements in our overall rating," she said.

Urgent call for vaccine check to prevent mumps

Public Health England South West is urging freshers and returning university students to check they’re up to date with student vaccines before the start of the university term.

This follows an increase in mumps cases driven by outbreaks at universities across the country earlier this year.

Latest figures show that 227 cases of mumps were confirmed in the South West between April and June 2019 with 2,028 cases of mumps confirmed across England within the same time frame.

This compares to 795 cases confirmed in England last quarter, continuing the increase seen during the first quarter of 2019.

BBC local radio headlines

Radio studio

BBC Radio Bristol: There were four times more arson attacks at Bristol Prison this summer than last year.

BBC Wiltshire: An inquest is being held today into how a 12-year-old school boy from Chippenham, whose bicycle was hit by a car, died.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: The seventh headteacher to take over at Gloucester Academy in just nine years starts his new role today.

BBC Somerset: Children in Wedmore and Cheddar will be the first to use a brand new fleet of council coaches to get to school today.

Report into maternity unit closure plans 'not due till late Autumn'

Doctor with files
Health commissioners say not enough mums are choosing to use the unit

A report into the findings of the maternity unit closure plans in Trowbridge and Paulton is not expected to be published until the late Autumn, health bosses have said.

Health commissioners say not enough mums are choosing to use the unit into the town and opt for hospital led births in hospitals such as the Royal United in Bah instead.

However campaigners believe mums risk longer journeys and a greater expense if they lost the option to give birth in Trowbridge.

Leigh Robinson gave birth to all three of her children in Trowbridge and said: “Women who can’t drive or are in early stages of labour can get there fairly hassle free to be checked and made to feel relaxed at such a nerve wracking time. It’s an asset to the community and would be a shame to see it lost.”

Campaigner Andy Milroy, from Trowbridge added: “From personal experience we made it to Trowbridge Hospital with just minutes to spare. If we had needed to go to Chippenham or RUH our daughter would have been born in the ambulance in a lay by.”

A Wiltshire CCG spokesman said: “The decision-making process will be robust and fair and will be assured by NHS England. The speed of implementation of an agreed outcome following the consultation that includes the building of new Alongside Midwifery Units in Bath and Salisbury is dependent on accessing one-off additional funding to support the building of those units.”

A consultation into the plans closed in February and the findings will help inform the final decision, the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group has said.

Remembering the children evacuated during World War Two

Evacuees during World War Two
British Pathe

As World War Two began, the government gave an order for all city-based children and mothers with babies to evacuate to safer countryside locations.

The next day, armed with their gas masks, ration books and small suitcases, they began their exodus.

Tonight on BBC Points West three child evacuees will be sharing their memories of the time.

Vera, Tony and Maurice lived through the bombing raids before being evacuated to rural areas across the West.

Here Maurice Hills remembers hiding in a shelter during a raid.

Maurice Hills recalls hiding from a bombing raid

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, from J17 for A350 to J16 for A3102 Swindon Road.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound from J17, A350 (Chippenham) to J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Views sought on closure of three special schools in Wiltshire

Local Democracy Reporting Service

School pupil doing maths
Getty Images

Parents have been urged to take part in a final consultation about how special needs education is taught across the north of the county.

They have until September 30 to tell decision makers their views on the proposal, that will see Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowde schools shut down to make way for the school that will bring 220 extra places.

Larkrise in Trowbridge, St Nicholas in Chippenham and Rowdeford in Rowde will all close by August 2021 “at the latest” according to a new announcement from Wiltshire Council.

While Larkrise and St Nicholas will no longer exist, the schools could stay open in the towns under a central management team from the as yet unnamed Centre of Excellence.

Parent, Donna Hamblin said: “As usual, there was never intention to be swayed. The decision was there from the beginning.”

Ian Gibbons from Wiltshire Council said: "The proposed closures and opening are put forward as part of the council’s overall strategy to create new special school places in the north of the County for children with special educational needs.

Parents have campaigned for the past year and continue to fight to keep special schools local.

Marches, petitions and four hour long debates have all been held in a bid to save Larkrise from being closed.

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, from J17 for A350 to J16 for A3102 Swindon Road.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound from J17, A350 (Chippenham) to J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Drama with a huge moral dilemma at its heart

Martin Freeman plays Det Supt Steve Fulcher and Joe Absolom as killer Christopher Halliwell

The chilling murders of two young women from Wiltshire are the focus of a new TV drama which starts tonight.

The ITV series 'A Confession' stars Martin Freeman as the detective who led the case.

Sian O'Callaghan, 22, disappeared after a night out with friends at a Swindon club in 2011.

Taxi driver Christopher Halliwell was subsequently arrested before admitting to the crime. He also agreed to show police where he had hidden her body.

Halliwell revealed to Det Supt Steve Fulcher he had also murdered Becky Godden, another woman who had been missing since 2003.

Acting on instinct, Fulcher pressed Halliwell for details - not in a police station, but in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, without cautioning him or allowing him access to a solicitor.

A High Court judge ruled that this breach of police guidelines made Halliwell's Godden confession inadmissible, which nearly derailed the case.

Halliwell was eventually charged and found guilty of Becky Godden's murder in 2016 after new evidence emerged.

He had already been jailed for Sian O'Callaghan's murder in 2012.

The episode left Fulcher's career in tatters.

He was given a final written warning for gross misconduct and he later resigned.

Investigation into landfill fire

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a blaze at a landfill site in Wiltshire.

Crews and water carriers from five stations were called to the Lower Compton Household Recycling Centre near Calne at 05.58 BST on Sunday.

People living nearby said they could see and smell smoke from more than a mile away.

The blaze was brought under control after five hours, the fire service said.

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Severe accident: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe accident, at J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Wiltshire - M4 lane closed on entry slip road and it's slow eastbound at J15, A346 (Swindon East), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Man released under investigation by police

A man arrested in connection with a stabbing in Wiltshire earlier this year has been released under investigation.

A man in his 30s suffered three stab wounds outside an address in the Toothill area of Swindon on 10 May.

On Friday, Wiltshire Police said a 38-year-old man from Swindon was arrested on suspicion of causing causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

At the time of the attack police said they believed the victim was known to his attacker.

Soldier became a "frightened rabbit" after warfare
Charities and councils are working together to help homeless veterans suffering from mental health issues.

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, from J16 for A3102 Swindon Road to J17 for A350.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound from J16, A3102 (Swindon West) to J17, A350 (Chippenham), because of emergency repairs. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time