Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. News, weather, sport and travel: Updates for Wednesday 1 March
  2. Fines have doubled to £200 for drivers caught using their phones. They'll also get six points - while newer drivers will have their licences confiscated.
  3. A man who nearly lost his life after a crash on the A34 says tougher penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phones is a step in the right direction.
  4. A six week crackdown on 4x4s and other vehicles over three tonnes trying to cross Marlow Bridge starts today.

Live Reporting

By John Hudson and Emma Midgley

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Thanks for reading today, we'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel from around Berkshire from 08:00.

Reading FC: Stam wants to right wrongs ahead of Wolves

The Royals boss Jaap Stam wants to learn from the two defeats to top sides last week.

Majority of Reading pupils offered first choice school

First preference secondary school places were offered to 78.4% of pupils in Reading this year, the borough council has said.

Reading Borough Council
BBC

In line with national trends, this figure is slightly down on last year’s 82.3% while the number of applications for secondary school places has continued to rise, from 1,702 last year to 1,805 this year.

The number of families offered their second choice of school was 12.7% compared with 12.2% last year.

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire both ways

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire both ways severe disruption, at J8 for .

M4 Berkshire - M4 exit slip road partially blocked and slow traffic at J8, because of a broken down car.

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

Travel update: Trains at standstill between Reading and London

BBC Travel

There are reports that trains between Reading and London Paddington are at a standstill while urgent track repairs are carried out. 

Great Western Railway services are believed to be affected.

'Take one game at a time': Reading boss hopeful for playoff place

Jack Winstanley

BBC Berkshire Sport Reporter

Reaching the playoffs is the unspoken but very much realistic goal for Jaap Stam and his players.

Both the manager and Tyler Blackett said the whole Reading squad is aware of what could happen in May if they can pick up positive results in the final two months of the season.

But the mantra remains the same - take one game at a time. 

View more on twitter

You could hear in the voices of both Jaap Stam and Blackett how frustrated they were with the manner of the losses to Huddersfield and Brighton, and tightening up at the back will be a key priority for the manager ahead of the game against Wolves on Saturday.

That game now could be a big indication of how good a manager Stam is. 

The Royals haven't lost three games on the bounce in the league this season, and a positive result will give the fans a much-needed boost. 

Weather outlook: Patchy rain

Holly Green

BBC Weather

Heathrow in 'carbon neutral' pledge

Heathrow bosses insist growth from a planned new runway will be carbon neutral.

A sustainability plan released by the airport includes a pledge to halve the number of flights taking off after 23.30. 

Heathrow Airport
PA

It also says £500,000 will be spent on a research centre aimed at minimising aircraft noise and pollution. 

Matt Gorman, Heathrow director of sustainability, told the BBC he "knows we don't have all the answers" but wanted to set out "bold and ambitious plans". 

Police warn drivers over new mobile phone laws

Thames Valley Police have joined a "national week of enforcement" to clamp down on drivers using mobile phones. 

From today, motorists caught using handsets behind the wheel will be be docked six points from their licence and fined £200. 

And any under-21s who passed their driving test less than two years ago caught committing the offence will be automatically stripped of their licence. 

View more on twitter

Supt Simon Dodds, head of the force's road policing unit, said the increased penalties "better reflect the seriousness of such driver behaviour". 

He said: “Using your mobile phone while driving needs to be considered to be as socially unacceptable as drink/drug-driving, because the consequences can be fatal. 

"The message is simple – don’t use your mobile phone while driving – it’s not worth the risk.”  

Mouse causes flight cancellation

A flight from Heathrow to San Francisco has been cancelled after a mouse was spotted on the plane .

Passengers on the 10:40 GMT British Airways flight were strapped in and waiting to take off when the cancellation was announced.

Carly, who was on the flight, said the air crew announced that "a rather unusual occurrence has occurred".

A mouse
BBC

"I'm not sure people knew how to react," said Carly who did not want to give her last name.

"There was general disbelief."

The flight attendants said rules stipulate planes cannot take off with mice onboard and that another flight would be laid on.

Places for Windsor and Maidenhead students increases

Windsor and Maidenhead have seen the highest rise in students gaining a place at their first choice school in the country. 

The proportion of children in the Royal Borough getting their favoured option has increased by 5.5% since last year, according to Press Association analysis. 

This bucks the national trend. Most of the country's towns and counties  saw a fall last year in the proportion of pupils getting a place at their first-choice school .

The figures come on National Offer Day - the day families in England find out where they have been allocated a place.

Reading 11 points adrift of automatic promotion spot

Reading are now 11 points from an automatic promotion place after Newcastle beat Brighton 2-1 last night

But the Royals are still seven points ahead of seventh place Fulham, as they seek a top-six spot and a place in the play-offs. 

Jaap Stam's men face Wolves on Saturday. 

Top of the Championship
BBC Sport

Council 'aware' of legal action over Mapledurham playing fields

Reading Council said the government's Education Funding Agency (EFA) selected a small part of the land at Mapledurham playing field as its preferred location to build The Heights Primary School following consultation.

The Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub-Committee decided on 20 December 2016 the EFA proposal was capable of being in the best interests of the charity. 

The Mapledurham Playing Fields pavilion
Graham Horn

Reading Borough Council said in a statement: "The council is fully aware of legal action by campaigners opposed to the EFA proposal and cannot comment further at this stage, other than to say all aspects of the proposal have been and will continue to be given full consideration by the sub-committee. 

"For the avoidance of doubt the trustees are aware and have been advised that they must act in the best interests of the charity."   

'Residents ignored' over Mapledurham Playing Fields plans

People living close to the site of a proposed free school on playing fields in Caversham say Reading Council has "ignored" their views in pressing ahead with its plans for the site.

The recreational land at Mapledurham Playing Fields has been earmarked for use for a permanent new home for The Heights primary school. 

People living nearby say they are not being listened to.  

A group of residents is now taking legal action.

We're funding it all by private donations and we're fighting against someone with unlimited funds ... we are determined to fight this and we will look for other avenues if the legal case isn't the way to do it.

Gordon Watts Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group

BBC Berkshire reporting live from Reading press conference

Jack Winstanley

BBC Berkshire Sport Reporter

We are live down at Reading FC's training ground for the pre-match press conference ahead of the Wolves game on Saturday. 

This conference will have a different feel to the last time we were here - the Royals have lost twice in a week to top four sides and any dwindling hope of automatic promotion has been extinguished. 

The aim for Jaap Stam and his men now has to be to secure a spot in the play-offs, which by any measure would still be a huge achievement for this season. 

We'll be speaking to Stam himself, and a first team player, and you can follow all the action live here, or on BBC Berkshire's Twitter feed. 

Was Panorama's BBC Slough documentary 'superficial'?

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, between J15 for A346 Marlborough Road and J14 for A338.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound between J15, A346 (Swindon East) and J14, A338 (Hungerford), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Radio 4's John Humphrys comes together in 'salty solidarity' with PM Theresa May

Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP Theresa May has vowed to give up salt and vinegar crisps for Lent. 

And John Humphrys has enthusiastically followed suit - throwing his crisp packet into the studio bin. 

View more on facebook

Driver injured by lorry driver supports tougher measures to stop phone use at wheel

A man left with serious injuries after his car was hit by a lorry driver distracted by his phone says the new tougher penalties on drivers who use mobiles do not go far enough.

Adam Pearson was left with a collapsed lung and broken back after his Mazda flipped on the A34 near Newbury in August last year. 

A mother and three children were also killed in the collision, and lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was subsequently jailed for 10 years. 

He told BBC Berkshire: "This accident was so avoidable, this wasn't something that was down to terrible weather conditions or other factors that are outside people's control. 

It was just the fact that he decided to pick up his phone and do something as trivial as scroll through music.

Adam Pearson Man injured by lorry driver who used mobile phone while driving

'Good luck' to U13 Girls football team from Waingels

Chicks on first day of spring!

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J7 for A4 and J8 for .

M4 Berkshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound between J7, A4 (Slough West) and J8, because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Range Rover drivers to face £50 fine if they cross Marlow Bridge

Police are reminding motorists they face £50 fines if they drive any overweight vehicles over Marlow Bridge. 

The Grade I listed bridge, which runs over the River Thames between Bisham in Berkshire and Marlow in Buckinghamshire, is  restricted to vehicles under three tonnes and less than 6ft 6ins wide 

View more on twitter

The force said the following vehicles should not use the bridge: Range Rovers, Discoveries, Ford Transit vans, Mercedes Sprinter vans, Volvo XC90s, 4WD pick-ups, Mercedes GLE/GLS/G Classes and Audi Q7s.  

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J14 for A3113 and J12 for M3.

M25 Greater London - Delays are easing on M25 anticlockwise between J14, A3113 (Heathrow) and J12 M3, because of an earlier broken down vehicle.

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

Traffic problems in Newbury due to burst water main

Mandy O'Neale

BBC Berkshire travel presenter

In Newbury a burst water main has disrupted the tarmac on Oxford Street outside the Job Centre. 

Other than that, the roads are looking good.

New drivers to lose licences if found using mobile phones

Drivers caught using a phone within two years of passing their test will have their licence revoked under new rules in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Penalties for using a phone at the wheel double from 1 March to six points and a £200 fine. 

New drivers who get six points or more must retake their practical and theory. More experienced drivers can be banned if they get 12 points in three years.

Dash cam footage shows A34 lorry crash driver

Calls to prevent drivers using phones intensified last year in the wake of several high-profile cases and research indicating that it was widespread. 

In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who killed a mother and three children while distracted by his phone on the A34, was jailed for 10 years.

This morning's headlines: Tougher laws on phone use while driving and Marlow Bridge crackdown

Sam Clayton

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

This morning's headlines: 

  • Fines have doubled to £200 for drivers caught using their phones. They'll also get six points - while newer drivers will have their licences confiscated.   
  • A man who nearly lost his life after a crash on the A34 says tougher penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phones is a step in the right direction. Adam Pearson was involved in the crash that killed a woman and three children near Newbury last summer. 
  • A six week crackdown on 4x4s and other vehicles over three tonnes trying to cross Marlow Bridge starts today. After that drivers who ignore the limit face a £50 fine.

Man 'exposes himself' to woman on train at Twyford

A man who exposed himself to a woman on a Great Western train shortly after leaving Twyford en route to Maidenhead is being sought by police. 

Suspect
British Transport Police
Officers are now investigating and are releasing CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to

The incident happened at around 10:20 on Sunday 14 January. 

The 27-year-old woman was sitting down and a man approached her and sat opposite shortly after before exposing and touching himself inappropriately whilst staring at her. 

When she challenged him he told her to “shhhh”. 

She then reported this to BTP by sending a text to our discreet reporting service text 61016. 

Officers are now investigating and are releasing CCTV images of a man they’d like to speak to in connection.

This was a distressing ordeal for this victim who was very intimidated by this man’s sexual behaviour.

PC Charlotte CollinsInvestigating officer

Today's weather: Wet and low temperatures

BBC South weather: Wednesday 1 March

It's the first day of the meteorological spring but the weather isn't playing ball just yet. 

There's going to be consistent rain throughout the day and highs of 9C. 

Morning! March is coming in like a lion ...

Emma Midgley

BBC South

Let's hope it goes out like a lamb. 

It's going to be windy and rainy today. Hopefully yesterday's pancakes will give us the strength to battle the inclement conditions outside 

We'll be bringing you all the latest news, weather, travel and sport this morning on our live page. 

You can stay in touch throughout the day on our  Facebook  and  Twitter  pages.