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SWAS running major emergency training for ambulance drivers


South Western Ambulance Service is giving its paramedics extra training in case they have to face a major emergency such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

The service has teamed up with Bournemouth University's Disaster Management Centre to be able to deal with situations like hazardous chemical incidents, terrorist bombs, or firearms attacks.

Family tribute to woman who died 'leaning out of train'

Bethan Roper
Family handout

The family of Bethan Roper, who died after being critically injured on a train to Bristol Temple Meads, have paid tribute to their daughter. Police believe the 28-year-old was leaning out of the window when she was killed on 1 December.

All of us who knew Bethan have been very privileged. She was beautiful in every way. Our pain couldn’t be sharper or more justified, but I know that her goodness and fullness of spirit will live on in our hearts and actions.

Adrian RoperBethan's father

Flood defence 'will have 100m gap in'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Flood map
Bristol Port Company

A multimillion-pound flood defence along the Avon and Severn estuary will have a 100-metre gap in it.

The wall is part of an £80m project by the Environment Agency, to protect homes and businesses from Lamplighters Marsh to the Severn crossing.

A 100-metre gap would extend 30 metres either side of the aging lock gates at the entrance to Avonmouth docks.

The lock gates are the responsibility of The Bristol Port Company. John Chaplin, the Bristol Port Company’s director said, on a tidal surge, "sea water will pour through the gap".

“People live and work in Avonmouth and this scheme puts their lives, livelihoods and the environment at stake,” Mr Chaplin added.

But council officers assured the committee the wall would improve Avonmouth’s flood defences and that the gap would be closed before the next big flood - expected some time between 2026 and 2076.

Mass response to vegans' turkey death vigil

The slaughter of nine turkeys from a city farm in Bristol and the subsequent vigil held for them by Bristol Vegan Action group has sparked hundreds of comments on social media.

The action group campaigned to save the birds, which were due to be auctioned by St Werburghs city farm to raise money for disadvantaged people in the area.

Despite the protest, the turkeys were sold and slaughtered - prompting the action group to hold a vigil in their memory.

Some of the people commenting on Facebook called the group's actions "heroic" and sent heart emojis.

Others suggested the birds had "probably had a good life on the farm" and people eat turkey at Christmas.

Bristol Vegan Action

It's one thing not caring where your food comes from, the environmental impact, animal suffering, but it's another to pretend none of it is real just so you can eat that nice juicy steak...

Melanie Calder

Vegan folk. Listen up. Marketing to us by beating us with the shame stick won't work. You're trying to make us feel bad and turkey is yummy. It won't work.

Abigail Newton

Man hunted after teenager raped

Still from CCTV footage of the doorway of McDonalds on the Horsefair
Avon and Somerset Police
Police are asking anyone who recognizes this man to call 101

Detectives in Bristol are hunting a man who raped a teenager he approached outside McDonalds on the Horsefair.

The man is described as Asian, about 5ft 6ins tall, wearing a black hooded top, jeans and black trainers.

He took the young woman to the St Pauls area at about 1am on Friday 5 October and raped her.

The victim is being fully supported and given access to any help she may need, police said.

No confidence vote 'water off a duck's back' for markets

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown in Bristol, says the markets appear to be tiring of the political shenanigans of the last few days.

Despite uncertainty over the Brexit deal and the fate of Theresa May, she said trying to forecast what would happen next was "a bit like trying to play darts while riding a unicycle".

Market reaction to the Conservative leadership challenge has been relatively muted, which suggests there is some measure of Brexit fatigue in place, and that political turmoil is largely priced in. The pound and the share prices of companies plugged into the UK economy were already under pressure, and there comes a point when yet more bad Brexit news is water off a duck’s back.

Laith KhalafSenior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown

Vegan vigil for slaughtered turkeys

Turkey vigil sign
Bristol Vegan Action

Vegans have held a vigil for turkeys whose lives they had tried to save.

Nine turkeys on St Werburgh's City Farm in Bristol were to be auctioned off to raise money for disadvantaged people in the area.

After coming under fire from vegan campaigners the farm cancelled the auction but said it would continue to sell the turkeys for Christmas.

The Bristol Vegan Auction group said it held a vigil outside the farm on Monday after it learned the turkeys had been slaughtered.

In a statement the group said it was hopeful city farms in Bristol could "move towards being sanctuaries" and would be continuing discussions with farms in 2019.

Calls to St Werburgh's City Farm were unanswered.

'Facebook discrimination' PC to appeal against tribunal

A former Avon and Somerset police constable who was found guilty of gross misconduct for sharing “discriminatory” Facebook posts is appealing the decision.

Jeanette Cadden was found to have breached the professional standards for equality and diversity and for discreditable conduct and was dismissed from the force without notice in December 2017.

She now intends to go back to the police HQ in Portishead for an appeal tribunal on December 18.

The Police Appeals Tribunal rules say Ms Cadden can appeal if she believes the ruling against her was unreasonable, there is evidence which could have affected the decision, or there was a breach of the procedures.

It has not been revealed what grounds she is appealing on.

The misconduct hearing last year ruled a number of posts Ms Cadden had shared on her private account were discriminatory.

Avon and Somerset Police

BreakingWoman who died 'leaning out of train window' is named

Bethan Roper
Cardiff School of Journalism/PA

A woman who died from serious head injuries suffered on a train was a charity worker returning from a Christmas shopping trip with friends.

Bethan Roper, 28, was killed on the Bristol Temple Meads-bound service on 1 December.

Police believe her injuries were caused when she leaned out of a train window.

The charity worker and chair of a young socialist group was returning to her home in South Wales after spending the day at Bath's Christmas Market with friends when she suffered the fatal blow to her head.

British Transport Police said its initial inquiries suggested Miss Roper may have been leaning out of a carriage window at the time.

Miss Roper, from Penarth, South Wales, was working for the Welsh Refugee Council at the time of her death, having graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2013.

'Major emergency' training for ambulance staff

BBC Spotlight

Ambulance crews from Devon and Cornwall have been working with Bournemouth University to prepare for "major emergencies" involving a large number of casualties.

South Western Ambulance Service said it was working with the university's Disaster Management Centre on the training, which includes preparation for hazardous chemical incidents, terrorist bombs, or firearms attacks.

SWAS crews

Robert Flute from SWASFT, said it was important for crews to prepare...

Bristol scientists discover how birds with colourful feathers evolved

Press Association

Scientists have gained new insights into how birds evolved to have colourful feathers.

Iridescence is responsible for some of the most striking visual displays in the animal kingdom, and a new study of feathers from almost 100 modern bird species has helped uncover how this colour diversity evolved.

Iridescence refers to colour changes when an object is viewed from different angles. Melanosomes are animal cell structures responsible for trapping, synthesising, storing and moving the light-absorbing pigment melanin, and are responsible for colour and protection from sunlight.

A team of University of Bristol researchers used scanning electron microscopy to quantify melanosome extracts from the feathers of 97 species of modern birds with iridescent plumage, taken from the collections of the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen.

The study showed that iridescent feathers contain the most varied melanosome morphologies of all types of bird coloration sampled to date.

It is already known that structural coloration is responsible for 70% of the colour variability in birds. These two facts might be coupled - birds evolved varied forms of melanosomes to achieve ever greater diversity in colour. "

Klara NordenLead Author, Bristol's School of Earth Sciences

Creative industries funding boost as value to economy is recognised

Press Association

Keiran Southern

England's creative industries have been handed a £20m boost.

The government package, which will help sectors including fashion, broadcast and video games, is designed to support an industry that contributes more than £100bn to the UK economy, Minister for the Creative Industries Margot James said.

The deal includes £4m being pumped into the creative industries of Bristol, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, while a £14m Creative Careers Programme will see leading industry figures working with schools and college to improve access to job opportunities.

Organisers hope to reach more than 160,000 students by 2020.

Another £2m will go towards the Get it Right campaign, which seeks to educate consumers on copyright infringement.

And £200,000 will be spent on the Digital Schoolhouse programme, which is delivered by games trade body Ukie and PlayStation. It aims to inspire the next generation of game creators and could be in place in 50 schools by September next year.

The cash injection follows the publication of new figures which reveal the value of the creative industries to the UK is up from £94.8bn in 2016 to £101.5bn, growing at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010.

Campaigners urge playing field fence rethink

Stoke Lodge playing fields

A long-standing battle over rights to a green space in north Bristol has taken another twist.

Campaigners have urged Bristol City Council to immediately halt plans, proposed by Cotham School, to install a perimeter fence at Stoke Lodge playing fields.

The school, which leases the land from the council, said it is to start work on the controversial fence after years of legal wrangling.

Cotham School says the fence is required to keep its students safe.

Bloodhound will be sold off

Administrators have confirmed that the Bloodhound Project - which was attempting to break the land-speed record - will go into liquidation.

Andrew Sheridan and Geoff Rowley - the joint administrators of Bloodhound Programme Ltd, the company behind the project, said in a statement released to the BBC: "we regret to announce that efforts to secure an investor to take the project forward have not come to fruition.

“Since the company entered into administration we have worked tirelessly with the Directors to identify a suitable individual or organisation who could take the project forward.

“Despite overwhelming public support, and engagement with a wide range of potential and credible investors, it has not been possible to secure a purchaser for the business and assets.

“We will now work with key stakeholders to return the third-party equipment and then sell the remaining assets of the company to maximise the return for creditors.”

Bloodhound trials

BreakingBloodhound Project to close

Bloodhound car
Getty Images

The Administrators of the Bloodhound Programme Ltd - the company behind Project Bloodhound - the initiative to reach 1,000 miles per hour in a land vehicle, have announced that an investor to take the project forward cannot be found.

It means that the project will end.

Missing teen: Have you seen Ewan?

Police in the Bristol area are appealing for help finding a teenager missing from Haverfordwest in Wales.

They believe the 14-year-old boy - named as Ewan - has travelled by train to either Bristol, Swansea or Cardiff with another boy (from Pembrokeshire), who is the same age.

"Ewan hasn’t been seen since he left home at 10am yesterday (Wednesday, December 5)" said police.

They have asked that anyone who sees them contacts their local police.

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School gates knife: Staff 'secured' weapon

Knife outside Downend School

School staff tackled a young boy brandishing a large knife outside school gates, it has emerged.

The footage of the child outside Downend School near Bristol was shared by parents with the BBC.

The school did not respond to a request for comment but a letter to parents from headteacher Lisa Howell has been seen by the BBC.

The letter says: "A knife was secured by duty staff, the police were called and the knife and the details of the incident have been passed to investigating officers who assure us that appropriate and robust action is being taken."

The headteacher said the boy carrying the knife "has no connection with the school and we expect no further issues".

The school is now bringing forward lessons on knife crime and has asked police to run an "extended clinic" on the issue.

Woman racially abused by passenger on bus


A woman was racially abused by another passenger on a Bristol bus in a "disgraceful and unacceptable" incident, police have said.

The 53-year-old woman was subjected to the verbal attack by a female passenger on the X39A First Bus service at about 16:00 GMT on 14 November.

Police said the bus driver "ejected the offender" at Temple Meads.

They asked for a man who told other passengers he had filmed the incident on his mobile phone to contact them.

PC Megan Emery, from Avon and Somerset Police, said the incident, which is being investigated as a hate crime, was not reported until 26 November.

She said the suspect was a white woman, aged between 45 and 50, with brown hair worn in a ponytail and wearing a long skirt, Ugg boots and a cream jumper.

Brexit: Arron Banks firm has 'no address'

Arron Banks

The company which the Electoral Commission suspects may have been behind Britain's biggest political donation has no registered address - meaning it has failed to fulfil a key legal requirement - the BBC has found.

Rock Holdings is a firm registered in the Isle of Man and controlled by Leave.EU founder, Bristol-based Arron Banks.

The Electoral Commission's ongoing investigation of Leave.EU funds was referred to the National Crime Agency.

Mr Banks denies any wrongdoing.

Restaurant staffed by people with dementia to star in TV show

Dementia restaurant

A Bristol restaurant which is entirely staffed by people living with dementia is being filmed for a new television series.

Based in the Old Fire Station in Silver Street, the pop-up restaurant is staffed by volunteers of all ages, directed by a Michelin starred chef.

Filming has already started for the Channel 4 series airing in March. The aim of the enterprise is to lessen the stigma of dementia and show that with support, people can continue to work.

Dog mess enforcement proposed for South Glos

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Stephen Sumner

Dog mess warning sign

Dog owners could soon be fined up to £1,000 for allowing their dog to foul on commons, woodland and heaths across South Gloucestershire.

The council also wants to introduce new powers requiring dog owners and walkers to prove they have the means to clear up after their canines.

It is consulting on plans to bring in a public spaces protection order (PSPO) to bolster their enforcement powers.

Proposals include having authorised officers who may approach dog owners.

If they cannot prove they are able to pick up and dispose of mess they will have committed an offence, attracting a fee of up to £1,000 if convicted, or a £75-£100 fine "if paid promptly".

Landowners would be able to exclude their land from the order.

The consultation runs until January 11, 2019.

Currently we do not enforce against dog fouling on commons, woodland, farmland or heathland. We are also consulting on a proposal to give authorised officers the power to require a person in control of a dog to demonstrate that they have the means to clear up after their dogs."

Consultation document

Bristol Airport's expansion 'bonkers', says transport chief

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Bristol Airport’s expansion plans are “bonkers”, according to the region's transport chief.

The airport wants to double maximum passenger numbers from 10m to 20m by the mid 2040s.

But all local authorities are facing a target of reducing their carbon emissions by 2036, with Bristol City Council voting to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Carbon doesn’t know administrative areas or boundaries,” Bristol councillor Stephen Clarke told fellow members of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) scrutiny committee.

North Somerset councillor Donald Davies said Bristol could be “massively working” to reduce pollution while the airport is working on an expansion scheme which is probably going to generate “as much extra carbon as Bristol is saving”.

Mr Clarke, who is the Green councillor for Southville, said: “I absolutely agree with you. I think it’s bonkers.”

But Conservative councillors Katherine Morris and Mark Weston said the airport expansion was in the best interests of the region.

The committee agreed to ask Weca about what level of support it could give to Bristol to meet its 2030 carbon target.

Bristol Airport’s plans for expansion are expected to come before North Somerset Council by the end of the year.

Delays after three-car crash in Bristol

Drivers are being told to expect delays around the St Philips area of Bristol after a crash involving three cars.

Police, paramedics and fire crews are at the scene.

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Rail disruption set to continue

Disruption of trains around Bristol is expected for the rest of the morning, say Network Rail.

It follows the collision of a lorry into a level crossing barrier between Avonmouth and Clifton Down stations.

The lines have reopened following repairs, but a backlog of trains is causing the delays.

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Level crossing crash: Picture from the scene

We are told the barrier was hit at around 8.30am by a lorry.

Level crossing crash

Level crossing crash: More information

We understand the level crossing that has been hit is the one beneath the M5, just behind the Portway Park and Ride.

Network Rail says that the "barrier has been ripped off".

We have a reporter on the way to the scene.

Level crossing scene

Level crossing crash: Trains delayed

Some trains are delayed in the Bristol area because of a vehicle crashing into level crossing barriers between Avonmouth and Clifton Down.

Great Western Railway said services running through these stations "may be delayed or revised".

The delays are expected to clear by about 10:00 GMT.

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