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Severe accident: Kent eastbound

BBC News Travel

Kent eastbound severe accident, between Old Folkestone Road and Elizabeth Street.

Kent - One lane closed on The A20 eastbound between Western Heights roundabout and Limekiln roundabout, because of an accident.

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

Severe accident: A20 Kent both ways

BBC News Travel

A20 Kent both ways severe accident, between Elizabeth Street and Old Folkestone Road.

A20 Kent - A20 in Dover closed in both directions between Limekiln roundabout and Western Heights roundabout, because of an accident and an accident involving a car.

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

Arnhem veteran from Brighton given medal by Dutch government
One of the last veterans of the Battle of Arnhem has received the Dutch government's highest civilian honour.

Your views sought over county council budget cuts

Kent residents are being asked for their input on Kent County Council's future spending priorities, as the authority faces its "toughest financial challenge for many years".

The council said: "Coping with the demands of Covid-19 has required a huge increase in spending and has come at the same time as reductions in its income from council tax and business rates."

Peter Oakford, KCC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We have to consider making some difficult decisions about where to reduce our spending.

"We are asking residents for their opinions so we can take those into account in drafting our next budget."

The online consultation runs from 14 October to 24 November on the council's website.

Covid-19 rates in Kent 'beginning to rise'

Andrew Scott-Clark, director of public health at Kent County Council
Mr Scott-Clarke said rates in Kent were "nowhere near the England average"

Rates of Covid-19 in Kent are “relatively low” but are “beginning to rise and that is a worry”, the county council’s director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark has said.

Kent and Medway are both on a medium alert level in the government’s new three-tier lockdown system, meaning residents will be subject to no further restrictions at this stage.

Mr Scott-Clark identified Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells as areas of concern but said: “We are working with those councils to make sure that all of the right measures are in place.”

He called on people to play their part by frequently washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and keeping to the rule of six.

'It could change rapidly'

“If we abide by those rules now, that will protect us, protect Kent and protect our loved ones,” he said.

James Williamson, director of public health for Medway added: “We’ve got a position that could change and it could change rapidly.”

He said a local tracing team would be supporting the national service and would “follow up at a local level people who have not been able to be contacted.”

Meanwhile, he said people with symptoms should get tested and abide by the rules on self-isolation.

“We have got a chance now," he said. "We’ve seen what has happened in other areas of the country."

The October floods of 2000 remembered 20 years on
Thousands of homes and businesses were devastated when floods swept through West Kent and East Sussex.

Brexit: Round-the-clock lorry park to open at Ebbsfleet

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

A 24-hour lorry park is expected to be in operation at Ebbsfleet International station in 85 days’ time, it has emerged.

HMRC – which deals with custom checks – and the Department for Transport have unveiled proposals to hold up to 256 lorries in car park D of the railway land, which lies between Dartford and Gravesend.

The government says the Brexit lorry site will be needed for up to two years from 1 January, after the European Union (EU) transition period ends at the end of 2020 if a deal has not been reached.

Queuing lorries

About 143 staff are likely to be hired at the station, which will operate for seven days a week. The site will be made Covid-secure with hand santisiers provided and social distancing taken into account.

Between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00, lorry movement will be limited to a maximum of 99 per hour at the former Covid testing site, which shut down unannounced last month and moved to Rochester.

Plans have been made to manage traffic travelling from different parts of the UK into Kent and the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands the customs checkpoint will be used as a “net” to catch lorries heading to Europe.

Hauliers will be encouraged to upload their paperwork online before they travel from their depot, and will then be given a green, amber or red pass to show whether they can progress onto the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

Dartford council’s main opposition leader Sacha Gosine (Lab) said he was “worried” about the plans. He said: “I have previously talked about the traffic issues in Dartford. It will be mayhem as the infrastructure on these roads cannot cope with these lorries.”

However, Dartford council’s leader Jeremy Kite (Con) said he “sympathised” with HMRC and added: “If they don’t plan for a worst case situation they would face criticism but when they do, it obviously focuses upon a preparation that we all hope won’t be needed.”

Woman set fire to flat and claimed baby was inside

A woman who set fire to an apartment and lied to firefighters that a baby was inside the smoke-filled property has been jailed for three years.

Samantha Spencer
West Yorkshire Police

Fire crews used breathing apparatus and forced entry to Samantha Spencer's flat in Bradford in May.

Bradford Crown Court heard there were 28 apartments in the block and many of the residents were vulnerable.

Spencer, 29, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

She also pleaded guilty to further charges of common assault and harassment towards two other residents.

The mother-of-two ran back into the block of flats when police officers arrived at Bentley Carter Apartments, but she was chased and arrested.

Hardship fund for councillors losing their seats

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

A “hardship fund” is being proposed for cash-strapped Kent county councillors who lose their seat after next year’s elections.

Kent County Council’s (KCC) head of governance, Benjamin Watts, has called for a wide review looking at options open to County Hall to help councillors who find themselves short of money after leaving office.

The KCC chief officer says he is “concerned” on a “humane level” that some elected members may find it difficult to find new work due to mass job cuts and a far more competitive labour market.

He said: “I am a little concerned that if in May we are still where we are now, and, we have some members who have been with us for some time and don’t retain their seat, that we may have some individuals in a hardship situation.”

The basic allowance for a KCC member is around £16,000 for the financial year. Some receive extra payment for committee chair roles or being cabinet members, but councillors are not entitled to redundancy payments and the majority are unable to contribute to pension schemes whilst they are serving.

KCC’s main opposition leader Rob Bird (Lib Dem) warned: “It is something we need to look at very carefully and be sensitive to public opinion. Clearly none of us would want KCC to be out of line with the sector at large.”