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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Thursday, 28 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Pamela Parkes

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from the BBC Local Live team

We hope you enjoyed reading the news from around the West Country today - and all the latest breaking news on Hinkley Point C.

No doubt there will be more to say on the subject tomorrow, so we'll be back at 7am to bring you more on that as well as the other news from your local area.

Before we bid you goodnight, here's a look at what's in store weather wise for Friday:

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New hitch for UK nuclear plant deal

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant
The new plant will be built next to two existing facilities

Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years suffer an unexpected delay after the government delays a final decision until the early autumn.

Hinkley Point C: The case for and against

The board of French energy giant EDF has approved the project to build new nuclear plants at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Tom Greatrex from the Nuclear Industry Association and Professor Paul Ekins from University College London discuss the scheme.  

Hinkley: Experts discuss the case for and against

Windows smashed and graffiti sprayed on doors in racist attacks

Houses in the Filwood area of Bristol have been daubed with racist graffiti and have had bricks thrown through the windows.

Bideford Crescent graffiti
Avon & Somerset Police

The residents who were targeted are not UK nationals and police say they are treating the incidents as racially motivated attacks.

Neighbourhood beat manager, Insp Nigel Colston, said:

This is an absolutely disgusting and vile series of attacks on people’s homes and it is completely unacceptable.

The residents of the properties targeted, some of whom were inside when the incidents took place, have been left feeling scared and intimidated.

£4,500 raised by Pokémon hunters at Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo has said that last night's Pokémon Go event raised over £4,500 for conservation charities.

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Although only 800 signed up to the event on Facebook, more than 3,000 people turned up to take part. 

When the doors to the zoo shut at 7pm, hundreds of fans were turned away. 

Bristol Zoo says it is holding another event next week for fans of the game.

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Bridgwater man sentenced for 20 years for child abuse

A Bridgwater man has been jailed for 20 years, with a further five years on licence after being convicted of 16 sexual offences against eight children.

Leonard Cook from the Sydenham area of the town had already admitted nine counts of sexual assault and one count of rape at a previous hearing.

Cook's offences spanned from 1990 to 2015. He was arrested last August.

Leonard Cook
Avon & Somerset Police

Detective Inspector Lindsay Shearlock from Avon & Somerset Police said after the hearing: 

"His crimes were dark in nature and destructive because of the lasting impact they'll have on the victims and their families.

In his interview, Cook tried to distance himself from the victims and denied the offences - a trait sadly typical of predatory sexual offenders like him.

Hinkley Point C: Government's statement over EDF decision

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the Government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix. 

"The Government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn."  

Hinkley Point Somerset

Graduate stands to receive award after five years in wheelchair

Five years ago, law student Jeremiah Daliel was involved in a car accident and he has used a wheelchair ever since.

He promised his classmates that he would stand when it came to graduation and he was true to his promise - to rapturous applause.

Jeremiah has written a blog about his experience.

Jeremiah Daliel promised his friends he would stand for his degree.

Hinkley Point C: Key points

  • 10 board members from EDF voted in favour of building Hinkley Point C and seven were against investing in the new nuclear power station
  • The UK government says that Hinkley Point, which will provide about seven per cent of UK power, is crucial for securing power supply in the next decade
  • EDF board member Gerard Magnin resigned in protest over EDF's strategy ahead of the meeting
Hinkley Point
  • One third of the £18bn cost is being provided by Chinese investors
  • Opponents in Britain say the price at which the government has agreed to buy power from EDF for 35 years, at more than twice current market levels, is too high

Hinkley Point C: MPs in Somerset give their reactions

Conservative Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddle-Grainger gave his reaction to Channel 4 News earlier:

This has been nine-and-a-half years in the planning, we're ready to go, we will show people what we can do. We've had nuclear here since 1958. We're not scared of it.

Other MPs have reacted positively to the news

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Somerset hopes for Hinkley Point jobs boost

Hinkley Point power plant
Getty Images
Hinkley Point in Somerset already houses two power stations

It's taken five years to reach the final decision to invest £18bn in a new nuclear power plant in Somerset.

Now the EDF board has voted yes, thousands of firms in the West Country are hoping to reap the benefits.

More on EDF Energy's decision to invest in Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C construction

EDF Energy has released a statement about its decision to invest in a new nuclear power station in Somerset.

Here's part of the company's statement: "The HPC (Hinkley Point C) Project is a major element of the Group's CAP 2030 strategy. 

"The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point will strengthen EDF's presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.

"HPC will also enable the Group to mobilise all its significant nuclear engineering skills following the final investment decision. 

"The first concrete of reactor 1 of HPC, scheduled for mid-2019, will coincide with perfect continuity with the start-up of the EPR at Flamanville, scheduled for the end of 2018."

Nuclear plant in Somerset gets final approval from EDF

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant
The new plant will be built next to two existing facilities

Investment in the UK's first new nuclear plant in decades gets final approval from the company financing most of the project.

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant

Surprise delay in UK nuclear plant deal

Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years suffer an unexpected delay after the government postpones a final decision until the early autumn.

Read more

EDF Energy: Board of directors approve nuclear plant in Somerset

Hinkley Point C: 'White elephant' is slammed by Green MEP

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has criticised EDF's plans to build Hinkley Point C in Somerset saying the UK should move away from nuclear power.

Molly Scott Cato
Getty Images

We need to invest strongly in renewables which can come on stream much more rapidly.

All nuclear power emits routinely radioactive elements which are carcinogenic, so it's a dirty form of energy generation.

Molly Scott Cato

Hinkley Point C reaction: 'Great news for construction'

The diggers are standing by to start work on Hinkley Point
The diggers are standing by to start work on Hinkley Point

Stephen Radley, from the Construction Industry Training Board says: "At a time of increasing uncertainty, this is great news for construction.  

"It should mean 25,000 new jobs, hundreds of apprentices and a boost to the economy across the South West."

No official statement has been made by EDF Energy but reports in Paris say board members have agreed to invest in the project.

What does Hinkley Point C mean for Somerset?

James Craig

Politics reporter, BBC Somerset

This is hugely important, not just for Somerset and the South West, but for the whole of the UK.

The reactor will cost around £18bn to build, EDF say it could create 25,000 jobs over its lifetime.

It was nine years ago that EDF's chief executive said the plant would be running by Christmas 2017, but that deadline slipped time and time again.

Hinkley Point C

Now this deadline is set at 2025. The UK government agreed to pay EDF a fixed price for electricity generated there, but that is double the current market rate.

Critics say that could leave us as taxpayers footing the bill for the difference.

Reports from Paris this evening suggest 10 members of EDF’s board voted in favour of going ahead with Hinkley Point C – with 7 against.

It means with this final vote of confidence from EDF, construction of the giant project can finally begin on the Somerset coast.

Hinkley Point C: Labour says nuclear energy can't come at 'any price'

The shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner has said that while Labour sees a role for nuclear energy in the UK, they are disappointed with the price agreed for the energy that will be produced from the site.

He said: "The government's failure to get a grip of the public interest here shows a startling level of incompetence."

Hinkley Point
Getty Images

Elsewhere, the national secretary for the GMB Union, Jusin Bowden said the board's decision was "great news for the economy".

He described it as "a first stop in plugging the UK energy needs gap that exists due to the Government's failure to have a proper balanced energy policy".

No official announcement has been made by EDF Energy but reports from Paris say board members agreed to go ahead with the nuclear build.

Hinkley Point C: Twitter reaction

The Twittersphere has started reacting to reports that EDF is to go ahead with plans to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in west Somerset.

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Hinkley Point C nuclear plant a 'bitter pill' Greenpeace says

Hinkley Point C

Greenpeace has commented on EDF's decision to press ahead with Hinkley Point C, saying it is "terrible value for money".

Although no official statement has yet been made by EDF Energy, reports in Paris say board members have agreed to press on with the investment for the new nuclear plant in Somerset.

John Sauven, Greenpeace's executive director said:

Countless experts have warned that for British families this power station will be terrible value for money.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for hard up people who have been told that the Government is trying to keep bills down while dealing with energy security and lowering carbon emissions.

EDF board 'voted by 10-7 in favour' of building Hinkley Point C

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C building proposals
Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C building proposals

The EDF board voted by 10-7 in favour to build the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset according to reports in Paris.

EDF in the UK has made no immediate comment.

BreakingEDF to build new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point

EDF has decided to press ahead with building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, according to reports in Paris.

More to follow. 

Anti-nuclear protesters hold rally in Bridgwater

Protesters from Stop Hinkley described plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point as "financial suicide" when they gathered in Bridgwater's King Square earlier.

Anti-nuclear protest in Bridgwater, 28th July
Anti-nuclear protest in Bridgwater, 28th July

They were calling on EDF to abandon the scheme ahead of the board meeting this evening where the vote will be cast on whether to invest in building the plant.

One placard read: "Hinkley C will be everyone's financial nightmare", while others branded it a "white elephant".

Allan Jefferey, 64, spokesman for the campaign group said:

I would like to urge EDF at their board meeting not to go ahead with what will be financial or commercial suicide. They should take a sensible step forward and go to non-polluting energy like the rest of the world.

Coln House school governors set to resign

The board of governors at Coln House Residential Special School in Fairford, Gloucestershire are set to resign this evening.

It's in protest over Gloucestershire County Council's decision to remove 35 pupils from the school earlier in July following safeguarding concerns. 

Coln House

Councillor Paul McLain from Gloucestershire County Council thanked the governors for their hard work. 

He added: "The county council will always put the safety and well-being of students first – and take rapid action to protect them when we have concerns."

In a joint statement, the governors said: "The governors remain very concerned for the welfare of the children and staff but do not consider that...they are able as governors to offer the support to the school and staff which they would wish to provide."

The builders are ready at Hinkley Point in Somerset

If the decision goes ahead in Paris tonight, then Somerset could be home to the UK's first new nuclear reactor for decades.

Work has already started to prepare the site at Hinkley Point for construction.

BBC Points West's Dave Harvey has been taking a look:

The BBC's Dave Harvey examines the site which will one day be the site of Hinkley C.

Football: 'Distraught' defender is injured again

Raphael Rossi Branco
Rex Features

Swindon defender Raphael Rossi Branco could miss the start of the League One season after suffering another groin injury.

Swindon Town head coach Luke Williams told BBC Wiltshire that the 26-year-old defender is "distraught".

Raphael Rossi Branco

Branco injury a concern - Williams

Swindon defender Raphael Rossi Branco could miss the start of the League One season after suffering another groin injury.

Read more

Your BBC Local Radio headlines this afternoon

Here are the top stories from your BBC Local Radio stations across the West:

Microphone live light

BBC Somerset: A member of the board of the French energy firm, EDF, has resigned, hours before a vote on whether the company will build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point

BBC Bristol: HMP Bristol has been classed as one of the worst in the country for the second year running

BBC Gloucestershire: The entire board of governors at the Coln House School in Fairford is resigning at 6pm today

BBC Wiltshire: Six teenagers have been arrested in connection with a fire at an empty Swindon hotel which broke out last night

Major revamp of Gloucestershire's roads approved

Funding of £9m to make major changes to some of Gloucestershire's busiest roads has been approved. 

The Department for Transport is upgrading a range of works, including improving the Elmbridge Court Roundabout, a bus lane along the A40 Westbound, the Whittington Road junction to Arle Court roundabout in Cheltenham and bringing in new traffic signal technology.  

Roundabout at Elmbridge
Department for Transport

Nuclear plant set to get final approval

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant
The new plant will be built next to two existing facilities

Investment in the UK's first new nuclear plant in decades is set to get final approval later today from the company financing most of the project.

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant

Surprise delay in UK nuclear plant deal

Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years suffer an unexpected delay after the government postpones a final decision until the early autumn.

Read more

Celebrating Beatrix Potter in Gloucester

Gloucester's House of the Tailor is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter today. 

The house was the inspiration for one of her most famous stories, "The Tailor of Gloucester", which was published in October 1903.

Steve Knibbs went for a look round earlier today:

Gloucester celebrates one hundred and fifty years of Beatrix Potter.

Firefighters tackle hay blaze in Wiltshire

Travellers leave tonnes of rubbish in Bristol

Local residents are unhappy as travellers leave rubbish and excrement in Lockleaze.

Bristol City Council is facing a huge clean up operation after travellers who stayed on land in Lockleaze left behind tonnes of rubbish. 

This is what some of the people commenting on BBC Radio Bristol's Facebook page think of the situation.

Chris Rees: You've got to laugh at the hypocrisy in here when there are hundreds of thousands of tons of everyone's rubbish in Britain.  

Sue Harris: and they wonder WHY people get angry there is no need for this …we have to put with this all the time near to us it's not fair that we have to pay for this.

Patrick Hardyman-Richards: That's the second pile this year they have left behind on that area.  

Headlines from around the West

Six teenagers arrested after Swindon hotel blaze

Smoke from hotel fire in Swindon

Six teenagers have been arrested after a fire broke out at the empty Madison Hotel in Swindon yesterday.

Det Sgt Scott Anger, from Wiltshire Police, appealed for people who were taking photos of the fire to get in touch: "We would like to speak to anyone who may have heard or seen anything suspicious around the area of the hotel before the start of the fire. 

"A group of youths were seen running from the scene soon after the fire had started," he added.

Bristol Cars are back from the brink

The company went into administration in 2011 but was rescued by technology company Frazer Nash.

The Bullet is the first new model in more than a decade.

The car was developed under the codename Project Pinnacle after a prototype was discovered hidden under a dusty tarpaulin in a factory. 

Final Merlin helicopter flying high

Merlin delivery
Lockheed Martin

The final Merlin Mk2 helicopter has been handed over to the Ministry of Defence.

Workers at Lockheed Martin in Yeovil have spent the last 10 years designing and manufacturing the aircraft.

The MoD ordered 30 of the helicopters costing £750m.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper signs for Bristol City

Ivan Lucic is heading west

Coach crash drivers to be questioned

Coach crash in France

The drivers of a coach which crashed in France, injuring two teenagers from Gloucestershire, are expected to be questioned later today.

The coach was carrying children from Bournside school in Cheltenham when it went into a ditch near the Swiss border. 

The driver said he lost control when he was looking for his sunglasses but police think he fell asleep at the wheel. 

The two students are expected to be flown home soon.

Hinkley Point C: 'Step back and review it'

Hinkley artist impression

Not everyone is convinced that a new nuclear plant in Somerset is the future.

"The price of every other form of energy is falling. That includes gas, which is plentiful and wind and solar are both coming right down in price," says Nick Butler, visiting professor and chair of King's Policy Institute at King's College London.

"We should step back and review it. The danger of what we are getting into is that are now locked into a very high price for a very long time."

It's expected that EDF will approve its investment later in the £18bn project to build Hinkley Point C - the UK's first new nuclear plant in decades.