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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Friday 10 March

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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A cloudy and mild night

Watch: West weather for 10 March

That's all from BBC Local Live for the West country. 

We're back on Monday from 7am with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel.

Overnight it is going to remain mostly cloudy with some further patchy hill fog for higher ground.

However, there will also be a few clear spells possible too and the winds will remain light. Minimum temperature: 8C.

Have a good weekend.

Seaman supports skaters' funding bid

Watch: Skaters' funding appeal supported

Former England football goalkeeper and Dancing on Ice star David Seaman has given his backing to a figure skating couple from Swindon. 

Zoe Jones and Chris Boyadji are Britain's number one pair and are off to the world championships in Helsinki this month. 

But their sport needs more funding to help them train and their appeal for help has been supported by David and his skating wife Frankie.  

Paralympic equestrian Anne Dunham OBE announces her retirement

Anne Dunham
Getty Images

Nineteen-time equestrian gold medallist, Anne Dunham OBE, has announced her retirement.

Anne, who lives in Wirton near Devizes, has a career spanning more than 23 years.

She first represented Great Britain at the Para-Equestrian Dressage World Championships in 1994, and has since gone on to win 32 championship medals for the country.  

Anne Dunham said: “This has been a hard decision, but I know it is right because I don’t want to start with a new horse and then have to part with him; Tokyo is four years away and I’ll be in my 70’s then and it’s time to give others a chance."

Woman killed as car hit by trailer

A woman has been killed and another received serious head injuries after their car was struck by a trailer which came loose from a tractor.

The incident happened in Bridgwater Road in Taunton, Somerset, shortly before 7pm on Thursday.

One woman died at the scene while the other was taken to hospital with serious head injuries having been removed from the vehicle by firefighters. 

"Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident," a police spokesman said.

Independent record shop celebrates 20th anniversary

Raves from the Grave
BBC

In this age of digital downloads and streaming MP3s, independent record shops are few and far between. 

However, Raves from the Grave in Frome, Somerset, is bucking the trend and is today celebrating it's 20th anniversary.

Raves from the Grave
BBC

Owner Richard Churchyard said the shop has become "part of the furniture of Frome".

"Twenty years ago I didn't think we would still be here today," he said.

"I've always been into music but I thought it would last a year at most. But we're still going and I'm quite proud of it."

Social care funding revealed

£5 notes
Bank of England

The amount each council will get for adult social care as part of the chancellor's budget announcement this week has been revealed.

Somerset and Gloucestershire get the biggest share. They'll both receive more than £21m over the next three years.

Bristol receives £17m and Bath and North East Somerset £5.8m.

This evening's headlines from your local newspapers

'Arson' attack destroys school classrooms

School
Google

A school in Bristol has been "extensively damaged" in a suspected arson attack.

Three classrooms were destroyed at Hareclive Academy, Hartcliffe, on Thursday evening.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said it is believed the fire was started deliberately.

Missing: Abdulkadir Mahamoud from Bristol

Bath 'explores the opportunity' to tax tourists

Bath
Getty Images

A tax on tourists is being suggested by councillors in Bath as a way of raising money for the city. Hoteliers are upset about the idea. 

Councillor Charles Gerrish, from Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: "We are exploring the opportunity of initiating a tourist tax, which would be levied per night to visitors who stay overnight in the city."

Mr Gerrish said the council was consulting with the government about a change in legislation because the current law means taxation could not be enforced on tourists. 

"In reality they [the government] were not particularly enthusiastic about another form of taxation," he said. 

Hotelier Laurence Beere said: "The idea of imposing a bed tax on hotels in Bath, it sounds really simple - 'it works in France, it works in Italy'. 

"I don't see how you can make it fair at all."

New bridge to cross the Avon in Bath

Bridge
Bath and North East Somerset Council

Plans to build a new bridge over the River Avon in Bath have been given the go-ahead.

It will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross between the northern and southern sites of the proposed Bath Quays development.

The bridge is expected to be completed by spring 2018.

Wigan Athletic v Bristol City preview

Bristol City v Wigan
Rex Features

Bristol City are waiting on the fitness of midfielder Gary O'Neil, who has had an injection to treat pain on his knee.

But the Robins' top scorer Tammy Abraham could make his return from a thigh injury after four weeks out.

More on this story.

The amazing things you find in rivers on the Somerset Levels

Yeovil Town Ladies FC: Annie Heatherson signs new deal

Annie Heatherson
The FA

This will be Heatherson’s third season with Yeovil Town Ladies after putting through seven goals during its 2016 campaign.

Having played in WSL 1 previously with Bristol Academy (now Bristol City Women), along with being in seven FA Cup finals she says she is ready for the big occasion of top flight football again. 

This year is going to be a challenge for myself and for the club, but I am fully confident that we are all ready and prepared for it.

Annie Heatherson

Messages prompt concern for missing Gloucester man

Shane Marsden
Family photo

Shane Marsden is thought to be in Thailand but police are worried for the 28-year-old after messages he sent to his family earlier in the week.

He went there from New Zealand, where he had been since November.

If you know where he is, contact Gloucestershire Police.

'Electoral fraud' case dropped

John Langley
BBC
Independent John Langley is also calling for the return of his deposit and election expenses

An investigation into alleged electoral fraud made by a defeated mayoral candidate has been dropped by police.

Independent John Langley argued senior officers at Bristol City Council had not been "open and transparent" over the council's financial situation.

He said  he would have run his election campaign differently  if he had known the city had a £29m deficit.

Avon and Somerset Police said a lack of evidence meant further investigation was not warranted.

Read more on this story.

Last Lynx flight lands at RNAS Yeovilton

Watch: The helicopter is being retired from the Navy fleet after 41 years

It's been a common sight in the sky above Somerset but now the last Lynx flight has landed at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton

Flight 208, the last deployed Royal Navy Lynx flight, came following the successful completion of a nine-month operational deployment embarked in HMS Portland.

Cdr Phil Richardson said the helicopters had operated from the oppressive mid-summer heat of the Arabian Gulf to the harsh conditions of the South Atlantic. 

They have conducted lifesaving missions at extreme range, fired sea skua missiles for their continuation training and have delivered a most impressive level of aircraft serviceability of an aging yet hugely successful airframe.

Cdr Phil Richardson Commanding Officer of 815 NAS

Hotelier concerned tourist tax could make Bath 'too expensive'

Watch: Bath hotelier Laurence Beere tells of his concerns over a possible tourist tax

Laurence Beere, who owns The Queensbury Hotel in Bath, is concerned the idea for a tax on tourists could put visitors off coming to the city because it would make Bath "too expensive".

Bath and North East Somerset Council is exploring the concept as a way of raising money for Bath. 

It would mean a change in national legislation because the current law means taxation can't be enforced on tourists.

Children found living in 'squalid conditions'

Watch: Children found living in 'squalid conditions'

Police in Bristol are urging people not to turn a blind eye to crime after finding children living in squalid conditions. 

It comes as officers executed a number of drug-related warrants across the city. 

Although no drugs were found in this house the parents later pleaded guilty to child neglect.

Officers are urging people to contact them anonymously via Crimestoppers.

Football: McChrystal leaves Bristol Rovers

Mark McChrystal
Rex Features

Bristol Rovers defender Mark McChrystal has been released after four years with the League One club.

The 32-year-old former Rovers captain helped them to back-to-back promotions in 2014-15 and 2015-16 after arriving on a free transfer in January 2013.

He was one of six players told by manager Darrell Clarke that they were  free to leave the club  in January.

The former Tranmere Rovers player made 114 league appearances for the Memorial Stadium outfit, including 107 starts.

A mountain of animal feed at the Royal Portbury Dock

Watch: Animal feed importers are one of the users of the Royal Portbury Dock in Bristol

The boss of the Bristol Port Company says business is up since the Brexit vote. 

Each year the port handles a quarter of all UK aviation fuel imports, it's handling more new cars than ever before, and is even receiving mountains of animal feed - as seen above.

Emma Britton spent the morning there with her BBC Radio Bristol breakfast show - click below to listen again to the programme.

Newspaper headlines around the West

Flood management project nomination 'brilliant news'

Richard Spyvee
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Earlier we told you about a river project in Stroud which is in line to scoop a top award.

Richard Spyvee (pictured) from the trust said it was "brilliant news".

The natural flood management scheme is a joint project between Stroud District Council, the Environment Agency and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT).

The hope is that similar schemes will be adopted nationwide and contribute to the mitigation of flood risks across the UK.

Richard Spyvee

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, between J10 for A4019 and J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M5 southbound between J10, A4019 (Cheltenham) and J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Paralympic dressage star Dunham retires

Anne Dunham
Rex Features

Ten-time Paralympic equestrian medallist Anne Dunham has announced her retirement following a 23-year career.

The 68-year-old Wiltshire rider was awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list for services to para-sport, having received an MBE in 2009.

She won five team gold medals at Paralympic Games since 1996, plus an individual gold in Beijing in 2008.

"This has been a hard decision, but I know it is right. It's time to give others a chance," Dunham said.

Blind runner's friend to guide her through Bath Half Marathon

Watch: Helen McCann and Mandy Hatfield are running in the Bath Half Marathon

Blindness has not stopped Helen McCann from taking part in this weekend's Bath Half Marathon. 

Her friend Mandy Hutfield will run with her as her "guide runner". 

The women, from Wookey in Somerset, are raising money for charity Guide Dogs. 

Helen's guide dog Alfie will have to settle for the sidelines on this occasion.

Crew tackling fire at recycling centre

Recycling centre
Google Maps

A fire at Priors Wood Recycling Centre in Taunton is being tackled by specialist crews.

Five appliances plus an ariel ladder platform and water bowser were sent to the Crown Industrial Estate at 10.30am.

There are reports of a number of areas of fire.  

It's believed no-one needed to be evacuated from the site.

Cathedral aiming to log its ancient graffiti

Listen: Steve Dunn from Salisbury Cathedral talks to BBC Wiltshire's Mike Day

One of Wiltshire's major tourist attractions is preparing to start graffiti tours. 

The team at Salisbury Cathedral is aiming to log all of the ancient graffiti there over the next three years.

They include basic marks to intricate drawings carved into the stonework. 

BBC Wiltshire's Mike Day has been to meet Steve Dunn, the man in charge of the research.

Severe accident: A358 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

A358 Somerset northbound severe accident, between A378 and M5 J25.

A358 Somerset - A358 in Thornfalcon closed and very slow traffic northbound between the A378 junction and Taunton, because of a serious accident. Police directing traffic.

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

River project in line for top award

Woody dam
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

A flood defence project in Gloucestershire could scoop a top UK award for rivers.

The natural flood management scheme, in the River Frome catchment above Stroud, has already won the "innovation project" category of the 2017 UK River Prize - the Oscars of the river world.

The Stroud Rural Sustainable Drainage System could win the overall prize when the winner is announced next month.

The joint project between Stroud District Council, the Environment Agency and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust includes the use of "large woody leaky dams", the excavation of dry ponds, and natural soakaways.

Could there be fluffier dogs than this pair?

Watch: These two Samoyed dogs are very fluffy indeed

Liz Hunt's two Samoyeds might just be the fluffiest dogs in Wiltshire.

The Samoyed is a large breed of herding dog, from the spitz group, with a thick, white, double-layer coat. 

It takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. 

Liz is hoping for a first place finish for them in this year's Crufts.  

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, at J16 for A3102.

M4 Wiltshire - M4 lane blocked on exit slip road and heavy traffic eastbound at J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Tourists 'not bothered to pay £1' to stay overnight in Bath

Watch: BBC reporter Martin Jones ask tourists if they'd pay £1 to stay overnight

Tourists in Bath told BBC reporter Martin Jones they'd be happy to pay a small tourist tax to stay overnight in Bath. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council is exploring the idea of charging visitors, but this would require a change in the law because current legislation means a taxation can't be enforced on tourists. 

Bridges 'not fit' for heaviest lorries

A lorry driving over a bridge
Google

More than 2,500 bridges across England are not fit to support the heaviest lorries, a study has found

The RAC Foundation discovered 2,512 council-maintained bridges are not suitable for 44 tonne vehicles.

Devon County Council has the highest number of substandard bridges with 249, followed by Somerset (210) and Essex (160). 

Councils currently have plans to repair just 416 of them nationally, blaming a shortage of funds and a lack of skills.

Tourist tax discussions ongoing

Watch: Cllr Charles Gerrish on why he thinks Bath needs a tourist tax

Discussions about a possible overnight tourist tax for Bath are ongoing among city councillors.

Councillor Charles Gerrish, from Bath and North East Somerset Council, said they were "exploring the opportunity of initiating a tourist tax" which would be charged to visitors staying overnight in the city. 

He said the council was in consultation with the government about a change in legislation because the current law means taxation could not be enforced on tourists. 

£32m investment for M5

M5
BBC

A £32m investment programme for the M5 motorway in the West has been announced by the government. 

The money, which is part of a nationwide package of investment, will be spent on improving queuing and driver information between junctions 17 and 19, and 23 to 25. 

The work is expected to be completed by spring 2020.

Could beavers pose a threat to local farmers?

Beaver in river
Getty Images

The beavers will be released into a 16-acre fenced area along the Greathough Brook near Brierley. 

It's hoped they will dam the stream creating new habitats for wildlife and slowing the flow of water to potentially reduce the flood risk around Lydbrook.

In other areas of the UK where beavers live wild, farmers have complained of damage to their land. 

The trial here is going to be fenced to stop boar getting in and stop the beavers getting out. The fence-line is going to be inspected on a very regular basis. We are well embedded on the public forest estate so there is, I would say, absolutely no chance of the beavers escaping, or if they do escape, getting out onto surrounding farmland.

Kevin StannardForestry Commission

A303 upgrade options to be discussed at consultation

A303 near Sparkford
N.Chadwick/Geograph

People in south Somerset are being invited to a public consultation to discuss an upgrade of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester.

Highways England is considering two options for the road:

  1. Turn the stretch between Sparkford and Ilchester into dual carriageway
  2. Re-route the arterial road through open countryside 

David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome has described the second proposal as "enormous and very serious" and said it could cause "irreparable damage to the landscape".

The consultation event is being held at Davis Hall in West Camel today from 10am-6pm. 

The overall consultation runs until the end of March.

Reintroducing beavers 'promotes biodiversity'

Beaver
Getty Images

A family of beavers could be released into a fenced area of the Forest of Dean later this year as part of a three-year trial. 

The Forestry Commission is finalising plans to introduce the animals to an area near Brierley, hoping they would dam the Greathough Brook and potentially reduce flood risk downstream.

In Scotland, the release of Eurasian beavers in Argyll in 2009 was deemed so successful they were given protected status. 

"Beavers promote biodiversity by creating new ponds and wetlands, which in turn provide valuable habitats for a wide range of other species," said the country's environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

Homes Under the Hammer presenter joins BBC Wiltshire

TV presenter Martin Roberts joins BBC Wiltshire this morning. 

The Homes Under the Hammer presenter will host the morning show on Fridays for the next eight weeks.


          We are so excited that @TVMartinRoberts joins us at @BBCWiltshire today - listen in from 9am!

We are so excited that @TVMartinRoberts joins us at @BBCWiltshire today - listen in from 9am!