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Summary

  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates for the West of England (26-29 March).

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Police in hazmat suits near The Maltings

Russia is behind the attempted murder of an ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury, the PM believes.

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Ben Wallace reacts to the UK rejecting Russia's joint investigation proposal.
Security Minister Ben Wallace says "Russia doesn’t do investigations, they do assassinations”.

Stroud BMX and skate park relocation considered

BMX rider
Getty Images

Stroud District Council is hoping to strike a deal with one of the biggest indoor skateparks in Europe to set up an indoor facility on land next to Stratford Park Leisure Centre.

Currently, Rush skate park is based at Brimscombe Port, which is set for redevelopment.

The council is due to meet next week to see if it's feasible to offer the company a peppercorn rent and agree terms, subject to planning permission.

Stewart Fenton

A man who posed as a homeless ex-serviceman to beg for cash dies in drugs binge on the day he quits rehab.

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UK: 'Beyond reasonable doubt' Russia behind spy attack
A UK minister says it is "beyond reasonable doubt" Russia was behind the poisoning of an ex-spy in England.

Severe accident: M32 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M32 Bristol northbound severe accident, at J1 for A4174 Bristol Ring Road affecting J3 for A4320 Easton Way.

M32 Bristol - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M32 outbound at J1, A4174 (Hambrook), because of an accident involving two cars. Congestion to J3, A4320 (St Pauls).

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

Flooding risk: Environment Agency 'not expecting significant impact'

Watch: BBC Points West's Steve Knibbs speaks to Dave Throup from the EA

The Environment Agency is keeping a close eye on river levels in Gloucestershire after issuing a number of flood warnings and alerts.

Rivers are swollen and flood plains are filling up at slightly higher than usual rates, but it's thought the risk of flooding is generally low.

BBC Points West's Gloucestershire reporter Steve Knibbs has been to the Environment Agency's regional incident room today.

Travel: Further closures on A40 near Gloucester

Premiership trophy in Times Square, New York

Chris Jones

BBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter

Global insurance brokers Gallagher are close to signing a long-term deal as the Premiership's new title sponsors.

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Metrobus: First route to begin next month

An artists' impression of a Metrobus stop
WEST OF ENGLAND PARTNERSHIP

The first Metrobus route will begin operating on Sunday 29th May, it has been announced.

First Bristol says the M3 service will run from Lyde Green to the city centre, with double-decker vehicles "in striking green livery" and "equipped with USB charging points at every seat, free wifi and wood-effect flooring".

It will also be free of charge for the first 10 days, "giving people the opportunity to experience the new Metrobus service during those weeks".

A Metrobus map
TravelWest

Comic owners tease Jacob Rees-Moog MP over alleged similarity with Walter Brown

North Avon Magistrates' Court building to be demolished

The former North Avon Magistrates' Court
Google

Plans to demolish a court building have been given the go-ahead despite claims it could be put to good use.

North Avon Magistrates' Court is being levelled, but plans to build up to 50 homes on the site in Yate, South Gloucestershire, are yet to be decided.

Yate Town Council said the demolition would prematurely remove a community asset.

Homes England has submitted outline plans for up to 50 homes on the site, 18 of which would be "affordable".

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, at J18A for M49.

M5 Bristol - M5 lane closed on entry slip road northbound at J18a M49, because of emergency repairs. Traffic is coping well.

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

Motorists in Georgian spa city may be charged

Proposed clean air zone
BANES

Motorists could be charged to drive into the centre of Bath as part of plans to tackle "dangerous" air pollution levels.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes) has proposed that owners of high emission vehicles, including HGVs and buses, will need to pay to drive into a central clean air zone (CAZ).

The government has given the authority until 2021 to improve its air quality and made up to £3m available to implement the scheme and improve "greener modes of public transport".

Under proposals outlined by the authority, a CAZ will affect an area with a 5m (8km) radius, including some of the city's central Georgian sites and its main shopping routes.

It's claimed the "small" area will have a positive effect on emission levels in a wider catchment of arterial roads.

But the final plans, as well as costs for entering the zone - and the costs for drivers - are yet to be finalised.

View more on youtube

Three flood warnings in force across the West

Flood warning
Environment Agency

Three flood warnings are in force across the West today.

The Environment Agency says this means flooding is expected and immediate action should be taken.

The affected areas are:

Workforce hesitate to recommend hospital as a place to work

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Weston General
BBC

An NHS chief executive has apologised to his employees after they said they would not recommend their family or friends get treated in the hospital they work in.

Many doctors, nurses and other staff at Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) said they were not appreciated by managers in the 2017 NHS Staff Survey.

The Trust is the smallest in the country and operates Weston General Hospital in the North Somerset town of Weston-super-Mare.

Fewer than half of the trust's 730 employees who completed the survey said they would recommend it as a place to work.

Severe disruption: A429 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A429 Gloucestershire both ways severe disruption, between West End and Fields Road.

A429 Gloucestershire - A429 in Northleach blocked and very slow traffic in both directions between the West End junction and the Fields Road junction, because of a jackknifed lorry.

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

Symphony Project: patients in tune with their chronic conditions

Dr Helen Lloyd, Senior research fellow, on project for patients with chronic illness

Medical staff believe a project to help patients with chronic illnesses understand more about their conditions is helping reduce time spent at GP appointments.

One patient had 29 fewer contacts with medical staff over six months, after becoming part of the symphony project in Taunton.

Patients meet regularly for NHS advice on medication and managing their conditions, and also get to socialise with others.

It has meant some patient contact with GP services has been cut by nearly two thirds.

Plymouth University's Dr Helen Lloyd has analysed the effect the project has had on patients.

Trains running again after huge signal upgrade in Bristol

Symphony Project: patients and medics working in harmony

Some patients contact with their GP has been cut by nearly two thirds under a project to help them manage their conditions.

The Taunton Deane symphony project aims to support people with chronic illnesses who pay regular visits to their doctor.

There's a weekly meeting for NHS advice and socialising, held in Taunton library, which is designed to help patients understand more about their conditions and the medication they're on.

Wendy Jonas is a nurse specialising in complex conditions, who has seen the impact of the project.

Nurse practitioner Wendy Jonas - on symphony project, for patients with chronic conditions

Severe congestion: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe congestion, between J14 for B4509 Thornbury and J13 for A419.

M5 Gloucestershire - Heavier than usual traffic, a speed restriction of 40 mph and two lanes closed on M5 northbound between J14, B4509 (Thornbury) and J13, A419 (Stroud).

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

Florida crash: 'Relatives in great shock'

Watch: Relatives of crash family 'in great shock'

James Sparvero from News 6 WKMG, based in Orlando, said he had contacted relatives of the Bristol family, killed in a car crash in Florida, and they were in "great shock".

Adam Stephenson, 30, Maryanne Stephenson, 29, Brian Stephenson, 66, and Sheralyn Stephenson, 56, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, as they returned from the Kennedy Space Centre.

Signalling upgrade on railways complete

It looks like so far so good following the Easter closure of Bristol Temple Meads to upgrade the signalling.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol eastbound severe disruption, between J19 for M32 and J18 for A46 Bath.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed on M4 eastbound between J19, M32 (Bristol) and J18, A46 (Bath), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

'The worst possible impact'
A car crash that killed four Britons in Florida was the "worst possible impact you can have", police say.

Florida crash: Family 'instructed to make U-turn due to blocked road'

Crash scene with 2 police officers
CBS

A Bristol family killed in a crash in Florida had made a U-turn at an intersection after being directed to do so by their car's GPS navigation system, local police have said.

Titusville Police Department Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson said officers believe the family had just left the Kennedy Space Centre in their rental vehicle, and were attempting to navigate back to their rented holiday home when their car collided with a pick-up truck.

A preliminary investigation found GPS in the vehicle was instructing a "U-turn" at an intersection "most likely because of an earlier crash with road blockage".

Adam Stephenson, 30, Maryanne Stephenson, 29, Brian Stephenson, 66, and Sheralyn Stephenson, 56 - all from Bristol - died in the crash on Monday.

The driver of the Ford pick-up truck was taken to hospital with "non life-threatening injuries".

Watch: Todd Hutchinson from Titusville Police

Green light for extra community nursing beds

Watch: How the community beds will be used

Plans for up to 160 extra community nursing beds in the region have been given the go ahead by the NHS.

The new Clinical Commissioning Group for the West is asking South Gloucestershire Council to procure up to 80 beds at a new facility on the site of the former Frenchay hospital, as well as a similar number in Thornbury.

Dr Jonathan Evans explains how the beds will be used.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe disruption, between J24 for A38 and J23 for A39.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed on M5 northbound between J24, A38 (Bridgwater South) and J23, A39 (Bridgwater North), because of a lorry having a tyre changed. Traffic is coping well.

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