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Business Secretary 'saddened' by SSI explosion deaths

The Business Secretary has sent her condolences to the families of two men killed in the explosion at the Redcar SSI plant.

Andrea Leadsom said: "I am very sad to learn of the deaths of two workers on the former SSI site, my thoughts are with their families and friends.

“South Tees Site Company are working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the emergency services to investigate what happened, and to provide support to those affected.”

SSI deaths 'terrible tragedy for families and friends'

Dave Cocks, who used to work on the SSI site, said: "Where this accident happened, it was involved in the cleaning of the gasses produced by the coke-making process.

"Coke is made by converting coal to coke and as that conversion takes place, gasses are produced which are then cleaned and used as a fuel, and it would appear that this terrible accident has happened in part of that gas-cleaning process

"Clearing a site of this nature does take a lot of planning and preparation and there's no doubt over the last four years there will be areas off the plant where there would be materials that would need to be removed to keep the plant safe for demolition.

"It's a terrible tragedy for the families and friends of the people involve and yes, the cleaning of any industrial site does present certain risks and hazards that have to be eliminated wherever possible

"Closing down an iron-making site of this size is very rarely done in the UK so the planning could take months or indeed years, and it could be years and years before we see the site cleared."

Workers killed in explosion 'were on cherry-picker'

Press Association

Two workers who died in an explosion at a former coking plant for a huge steelworks were on a cherry-picker at the time, it has emerged.

Flames could still be seen at times at the SSI site in South Bank, Teesside, some three miles from the old Redcar blast furnace which closed nearly four years ago.

Fire crews attended the SSI site in South Bank, at 14:15 yesterday after a blaze broke out on the premises.

On Friday morning, Cleveland Police confirmed two men had died in the incident.

The blast appeared to have engulfed the two workers who were on a blue cherry-picker at the time, working at a height.

It looked to have happened as they worked on large pipes near a gas holder.

This morning police widened a cordon around the site after flames were seen coming from the blast area.

Explosion at SSI site
PA Media

Smoke billows across Teesside after fatal coke works fire

This was the scene earlier from South Gare on Teesside as smoke continued to billow from the fire at the former SSI coke ovens which claimed the lives of two men:

Redcar SSI site
Redcar SSI site

'Minimum disruption' promised for UCI cycle championships

The man responsible for organising cycling's UCI Road World Championships which begin this weekend says everything possible has been done to minimise disruption.

Cyclists racing

More than one million people are due to watch 1,400 riders compete in the nine-day event across Yorkshire.

All of the races, taking place between 22 and 29 September, finish in Harrogate, where there will be dozens of road closures.

However, Andy Hindley from Yorkshire 2019 says: "There will be some disruption but we've kept it to the absolute minimum we feel we can deal with from a safety perspective."

£2m repairs fund set up for flood-hit farmers

A £2m repairs fund has been set up by the government to support farmers who were affected by severe flooding earlier this year.

Wainfleet flooding
PA Media

The Farming Recovery Fund will pay out grants of between £500 and £25,000 to cover the costs of repairing damage.

Wainfleet in Lincolnshire (above) and parts of North Yorkshire, including Grinton (below), were hit by flooding in the summer following heavy rainfall.

Stuart Roberts, from the National Farmers Union, said farmers "desperately needed" support.

"The reinstatement of the Farming Recovery Fund will be a relief to those farmers affected by the recent flooding events in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire who're now coping with a massive clear-up operation," he said.

Collapsed bridge at Grinton
PA Media

Mayor marks 'terrible and tragic day' after SSI deaths

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has issued a statement after two men died in a fire at the coke ovens at the former SSI site in Redcar:

Yesterday was a terrible and tragic day and all of our thoughts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of the two workers who were involved in the accident on site.

It is impossible to imagine the pain and distress which this news will have brought the loved ones of those involved.

All of the staff who work at the South Tees Development Corporation site are deeply shocked and sorry for this loss.

All works on site have been suspended while investigations continue. The team is working with the emergency services and the Health and Safety Executive, who will continue to have an ongoing presence on site."

Smoke blankets Teesside after fatal coke oven fire

This is the scene in South Gare as smoke continues to blanket Teesside following a fire at the coke ovens at the former SSI site in Redcar.

Two men have now died, police have confirmed.

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Watch: Friday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Nichola Donnelly

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It's another fine day today with plenty of sunshine and temperatures up to 21C in places, well above the average for this time of year.

Overnight it will stay dry with temperatures dropping to about 9C.

Two people injured in South Bank fire

Two people have been hurt in a fire at the former SSI plant in South Bank this afternoon, police said.

It happened shortly after 14.00.

Fire crews remain on the scene of the ongoing incident.

Cleveland Police said they could not confirm what injuries had been suffered.

The site has been evacuated and a cordon is in place up to 150m (482ft) from the site.

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

Ambulance crews sent to South Bank incident

The North East Ambulance Service said it had sent six resources including a specialist hazard team to the former SSI plant in South Bank.

Fire crews are also on the scene.

An ambulance spokeswoman said there were no details about any casualties.

We will bring you more details when we have them.

Fire brigade dealing with incident in South Bank

Firefighters are dealing with an incident at a former SSI plant in Middlesbrough.

It happened at South Bank shortly after 14.00.

Five fire engines were initially sent and two remain on the scene of the ongoing incident.

There is no danger to the public, Cleveland Fire Brigade said.

We'll bring your more information when we have it.

Watch: Thursday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Nichola Donnelly

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It's another dry day with some decent spells of sunshine for most and temperatures up to 21C in places.

Overnight it will remain clear and dry, meaning we're in for a chilly night with temperatures getting down to about 7C.

Abusive passenger on North Yorkshire train

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying an abusive train passenger in North Yorkshire.

British Transport Police photograph
British Transport Police

The man is reported to have shouted and sworn at a train guard on a service between Cononley and Skipton at 21:15 on 31 August.

He is also alleged to have racially abused another passenger when they photographed him.

British Transport Police believe the man in the image could help their investigation and ask anyone who knows him to text 61016 or call 0800 405 040.

Cleveland Police bid farewell to 'amazing' dog

Josh Frankland

BBC Tees journalist

Cleveland Police have said a fond farewell to service dog Izzy, who has been forced to retire due to an injury.

Four-year-old Izzy was popular with Police Interceptor fans and was with the unit for three years alongside PC Jimmy Grieves.

Izzy the police dog
Cleveland Police

It was very emotional saying farewell to Izzy. She is an amazing dog who was fiercely loyal and saved me on a number of occasions from being hurt. Thank you to Izzy for being my best friend and partner in fighting crime.”

Jimmy GrievesCleveland Police

Nominate your community's unsung hero

It's that time of year again, we're looking for your community's unsung coaching hero. In particular, we're celebrating the projects that have really made an impact in the last 12 months, and we need your help to find them.

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Sirius Minerals shares dive again

Sirius Minerals

Sirius Minerals is being hammered lower again, following its announcement on Tuesday that it was cancelling plans to raise $500m (£403m) through a bond sale.

It blamed "market conditions", including Brexit and lack of government support for the decision and will now undergo a six-month review of four different options for a new financing plan to resume the project.

After falling more than 50% on Tuesday they had fallen another 17% to below 4p although are now at 4.11p.

Two arrested over fatal Thornaby assault

A man has died after being assaulted at a pub.

He was reportedly hurt at The Roundel on Mitchell Avenue in Thornaby, Teesside at about 21:15 BST on Tuesday.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was taken to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough where he later died.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

Cleveland Police is appealing for witnesses.

The Roundel pub, Thornaby

Check your Yorkshire train journey

BBC News Travel

If you're making a journey on the rails in Yorkshire this Wednesday morning, most services appear to be running to time.


  • The 09:20 service from Bradford Interchange to Leeds is running about eight minutes late

For all the latest live updates from the county's main railway stations, click on the links below:

Watch: Wednesday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

It will be a fine and dry day though there may be a little bit of patchy cloud in places. Temperatures will get up to about 18C.

Overnight it will be clear and cool with temperatures around 7C.

Road sweeper driver jailed after 'trail of destruction'

A drink-driver left a trail of destruction in his defective road sweeper in two crashes, forcing one car onto its roof and another into a ditch.

Crashed roadsweeper
North Yorkshire Police

Ariel Babiarz, who has been jailed, told police he had drunk nearly a litre of rum the night before the collisions.

The 7.5 tonne vehicle came to rest when he rolled it on the A65 in North Yorkshire, Bradford Crown Court heard.

At the time the defendant, 29, of Maudsley Street, Accrington, was almost double the legal alcohol limit.

Babiarz fractured his back and broke his ankle in the crash, near Austwick in March.

He has been jailed for 36 weeks.

Volkswagen Lupo
North Yorkshire Police

Sirius 'terrible news' for retail investors

sirius share price

More on Sirius Minerals which has pulled a bond offering intended to fund development of a fertiliser mine in North Yorkshire - an announcement that has caused its shares to drop more than 50%.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “This is terrible news for a very large number of retail investors who had put their faith in the company. Many of these shareholders live close to the mine and invested as a show of support in a project that had the potential to greatly improve the local economy.

“It wants to extract polyhalite, a form of potash containing potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium. The product would be used by farmers to help improve crop yields. Traditionally farmers use different fertilisers and so Sirius is spending a lot of time educating potential buyers as to the benefits of polyhalite.

“Overall this situation is a reminder of the risks involved with investing. You need to fully understand what could go wrong as well as what could go right.”

Knife amnesty bins put in Yorkshire police stations

Knife bins are being put in police stations across our area this week.

Knife bin being emptied

The bins are part of Operation Sceptre, a week-long national campaign against knife crime.

North Yorkshire Police say they allow people to hand over weapons "safely and anonymously".

Det Supt Fran Naughton said: "Operation Sceptre provides an important opportunity to continue the conversation about knife crime, helping children and young people understand the dangers and potentially fatal consequences of carrying a knife, whilst providing support for them and their families.”

Lack of government help 'a disgrace'

The MP for Redcar, Labour's Anna Turley, said details of Sirius Minerals having to cancel plans to issue a $500m (£403m) bond was "devastating news".

She added on Twitter: "That the government are refusing to step in and secure this enormous project is an absolute disgrace.

"This government owes everyone involved an apology. It's not too late to change their minds and step in to save this huge project and the jobs and livelihoods that rely on it."

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said the news meant that "investors will be fearing for the future of the mine and remain cognisant that the recent history of mining in the UK has been littered with failures".

MP hits out at 'mad' government over Sirius Minerals woe

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald has reacted angrily to the news Sirius Minerals has been forced to cancel plans to issue a $500m (£403m) bond for a fertiliser mine it is developing near Teesside.

He said: "This government has completely taken its eye off the ball and, like the podium in Luxembourg, Boris Johnson and his hard right pals have gone missing at a time of crisis.

"This mad administration, propelling the country to economic cliff edge, seems determined to do everything they can to destroy the industrial base of Teesside. They’re keen enough to give tax breaks to gambling bankers but won’t lift a finger to help our industries.

"Sirius is critical to Teesside’s future and if government stands aside as they did with the Redcar Blast Furnace they will never be forgiven.”

Sirius Minerals
Sirius Minerals

Check your Yorkshire train journey

BBC News Travel

If you're making a journey on the rails in Yorkshire this Tuesday morning, most services appear to be running to time.


  • the 09:05 service from Wakefield Westgate to Sheffield is running about six minutes late
  • the 09:54 service from York to Edinburgh is running about 16 minutes late

For all the latest live updates from the county's main railway stations, click on the links below:

Watch: Tuesday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

After a chilly start the rest of the day will be fine and dry with temperatures up to 16C in places.

Overnight it will stay dry and settled.

Sirius seeks 'major strategic partner'

Here's a statement from Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive of Sirius, about that failed fundraising.

"Due to the ongoing poor bond market conditions for an issuer like Sirius we have not been able to deliver our stage 2 financing plan. As a result, we have taken the decision to reduce the rate of development across the project in order to preserve funding to allow more time to develop alternatives and preserve the significant amount of inherent value in this world-class project.

"The company will now conduct a comprehensive strategic review over the next six months to assess and incorporate optimisations to the project development plan and to develop a different financing structure for the funds required.

"This is the most prudent decision to give the company the time necessary to restructure its plans to move the project forward.

"The process will incorporate feedback from prospective credit providers around the risks associated with construction and will include seeking a major strategic partner for the project."

'Ongoing uncertainty' blamed for potash mine setback


Back to Sirius Minerals.

In August the mine announced that its plans to raise £410m, to help fund a potash mine in North Yorkshire, was halted due to "market conditions"

It has now said that "as result of global market conditions, the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the political environment in the United Kingdom" the company and its advisors believe that the debt offering is "now unlikely to be achievable."

"The company has therefore today announced that the scope of construction activities on the project will now be adjusted while the company undertakes a strategic review of its options," it said.

"The board considers that a reduced pace of development focused on key areas of the project that will ultimately serve to preserve the most value for the project will provide the company with a period of up to six months to review all available options for the company to move forward.

"The group will need to secure additional external financing in order to allow it to continue operations after 31 March 2020."

Sirius reconsiders fertiliser mine

Today Programme business presenter tweets

Woman sentenced for stealing £17k of animal medication

A woman who stole pet medications worth £17,000 from her employer to sell online has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence.


Abbi Mae Jowers, 25, of Broadway West, in Redcar, stole the medication while working as a receptionist at Vets4Pets, in Hookstone Chase, Harrogate, where she was responsible for ordering supplies for the practice.

York Crown Court heard that between 2 January and 11 April 2018, she stole stock worth £17,601.98.

Jowers pleaded guilty to theft, converting criminal property and fraud at a hearing on Friday and was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Festival of Thift attracts thousands

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Organisers of this year's National Festival of Thrift, held in Kirkleatham near Redcar at the weekend, say it was a huge success with 37,000 visitors over the two days.

The event is now in its seventh year and is designed to encourage people to learn new skills that can be used to mend, make or reuse things that might otherwise be thrown away.

Plans are already being made for next year's festival.