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  1. Updates on Thursday 30 June 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Martin Lewes


Live updates have finished now for the day. We'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow with news, travel reports and the weather forecast.

You can send in news and pictures using Twitter @BBC_Cumbria, by emailing us at or by posting on our Facebook page

Landowners give cautious welcome to flood prevention ideas

A landowners'association has said it supports plans to reduce flooding in towns by managing the headwaters of Cumbria's rivers, but schemes must be paid for.

A government report published today said restoring peatlands and planting trees could help the land absorb water and release it slowing, meaning rivers didn't rise so high after heavy rain.

Robert Frewen from the Country Land and Business Association, said landowners and farmers want to play their part: "But this needs to be coupled with long term certainty of funding."

Weather: Outbreaks of rain moving in

Patchy rain will move in this evening becoming heavier later. Temperatures will fall towards 10c (50F)

Weather graphic

You can find the latest forecast for where you live here.

Travel: Debris block M6 lane

BBC Travel

One lane's blocked on M6 southbound after junction 38, at Tebay, because of corrugated metal on the road.  

You can get the latest travel update here.

Floods minister aims to use the landscape to slow the deluge

A new government plan to reduce flooding in Cumbria's been published today.

The floods minister Rory Stewart, who's also MP for Penrith and the Border, says immediate measures have been taken to make sure Cumbria's existing flood defences are well-maintained.

Looking further ahead, £72m has been set aside for a wide range of measures, including restoring  350 acres of peatland around the headwaters of the rivers Derwent, Eden and Kent.

Mr Stewart says this can mean the water doesn't all rush down into the valleys at once. 

By planting trees you can absorb the water, and by using peat and other methods you can slow the flow so instead of all the water hammering down instantly from the top of Helvellyn into Keswick, you can smooth it over time and the river levels will rise more steadily and more slowly."

Rory StewartFloods minister

Inquest told driver 'swerved' into swollen river

An inquest in Kendal's recorded a conclusion of accidental death on a driver whose car was swept down a river through the middle of the town.

The driver was said to have swerved to avoid another car at a pedestrian crossing.

Car after recovery

The hearing was told people watched in horror as Charles Mercer's car, pictured after it was recovered, crashed through railings on Aynam Road and was washed away in the River Kent, which was in spate.

As 86-year-old Mr Mercer, who was known as Joe, clung to the car, a woman tried to reach him with a branch - then a former mountain rescue volunteer tried to dangle a climbing rope where Mr Mercer, known as Joe, could reach it as he passed under a bridge.

But by then Mr Mercer was unresponsive, and his body was found a mile or so downstream the following morning.

The coroner praised those who'd tried to rescue him.

Missing teenager found 'safe and well'

Coroner praises rescue effort

John Bowness

BBC Radio Cumbria reporter

A coroner has praised witnesses who used rope and a tree branch to try and reach man whose car had gone into river Kent.

The inquest in Kendal heard how frantic efforts were made to save his life.

Two witnesses told the hearing in Kendal how they tried to use the branch and climbing rope to try to reach 86-year-old Charles Mercer, from Cartmel, as he was swept down the river near Nether Bridge, in November. 

But Mr Mercer didn't respond, and was last seen as he vanished downstream from Romney Bridge. His body was found in the river the next morning. 

The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.

Trowels out in Appleby as Lottery funds archeology project

Local archeologists in Appleby are planning a series of digs around the town to find out more about its origins


The group says there's been relatively little archeology undertaken in the town's historic centre, partly because of the lack of modern development.

The Heritage Lottery Fund's now given £9,300 towards the "Dig Appleby" project, which will lead to a number of excavations, large and small, through the town.  People will be able to dig test holes in their own gardens.

Appleby Archaeology Group’s research officer, Martin Railton, said: “We are inviting residents of all ages from the town to become part of the project and to helpdiscover more about what lies beneath.”  

Cumbria Labour MP urges leader to step down

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has "sought to inject an unprecedented poison" into his party, The Copeland Labour MP Jamie Reed said in a letter to him last night.

Jamie Reed

Mr Reed is among a number of MPs urging Mr Corbyn to stand down as leader.

However, the party's MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, said in her letter resigning as shadow minister that she was "appalled" at the way Mr Corbyn was being treated.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.

What went down has come back up, says Tory council group leader

Ben Berry's leader of the Conservative group on South Lakeland council.

View more on twitter

Minister details plans to defend county against floods

What the government calls a comprehensive and detailed plan to protect Cumbria from flooding has been published by the county MP and minister Rory Stewart.

The plan includes £72m of funding to protect at least 4,300 homes. 


The report says roads, bridges and flood defences have been repaired and strengthened in time for this winter, and officials are working with landowners and rivers trusts to reduce the flow of floodwater off the fells.  

More than 70,000 tonnes of silt and gravel has been dredged from rivers and more work is planned in Kendal, Workington and Carlisle. 

A network of flood action groups is being set up to help make communities more resilient.

BreakingAccidental death verdict on driver swept away in river

An inquest in Kendal's recorded a verdict of accidental death on an 86-year-old driver who was swept away after his car crashed into the swollen River Kent.

Frantic efforts were made to save Charles Mercer as he clung to his car as it was washed through the centre of the town.

Inquest told of desperate bids to rescue driver in river

John Bowness

BBC Radio Cumbria reporter

An inquest in Kendal has heard how frantic efforts were made to save the life of a man who'd driven his car into the River Kent  last year. 

Two witnesses told the hearing in Kendal how they tried to use a tree branch and climbing rope to try to reach 86-year-old Charles Mercer, from Cartmel, as he was swept down the river near Nether Bridge, in November. 

But Mr Mercer didn't respond, and was last seen as he vanished downstream from Romney Bridge. His body was found in the river the next morning. 

Divers with car in river

His car emerged in the river near Romney Bridge as the water level dropped. 

The hearing continues.

Weather: Cloudy with a risk of showers

BBC Weather

Most places will see more in the way of cloud and this will linger for much of the afternoon. There's a risk of some showers developing in parts of Cumbria.

Weather graphic

You can find the latest forecast for where you are here.

Cumbria MEP calls for 'orderly contest' for Labour leadership

Julie Ward, the North West MEP from Workington, has said she did not sign a letter from her European Parliament colleagues calling for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to consider his position.

Julie Ward
Labour Party

This morning the MEP said: "I am concerned that an orchestrated campaign against our leader has been under way for some time and that this undermines our ability to move forward. There must now be a calm and orderly leadership contest."

This morning the Wallasey MP Angela Eagle was expected to launch her campaign against Mr Corbyn.

The Labour leader was elected last year with the support of 60% of party members, but Labour MP's have passed a vote of no confidence in him.

Dealer jailed over Carlisle heroin ring

A drug dealer from Merseyside has been jailed for three years after a police investigation into the supply of large quantities of heroin into Carlisle.

Steven Wong
Cumbria Police

Steven Wong, 20, of Osborne Road, Tuebrook, Liverpool, and his father John, who was jailed last year, were both couriers for a gang in Carlisle carrying heroin from Merseyside. 

Four men from Carlisle have already been jailed for their part in the operation. Two more Merseyside men will be sentenced later.

Det Chief Insp Andy Hill said the trials were a result of targeting the gang.

He said: "Drug supply almost always leads to further crimes including violence as crime groups try to establish themselves."

Bishop speaks of Somme sacrifice

The bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend James Newcome, will attend services in London and Manchester over the next 24 hours remembering the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Royal British Legion Somme logo
Royal British Legion

Bishop James is national chaplain of the Royal British Legion.  

He'll spend tonight on a service and vigil at Westminster Abbey, and then be in Manchester for services of commemoration at the city's cenotaph and cathedral.

Top Lakes hotel goes on market

One of the Lake District's best-known hotels is on the market. The Langdale Chase is on grounds stretching down to the shores of Windermere, with spectacular views of the fells.

Langdale Chase hotel
Langdale Chase

Thomas Noblett, the managing director, said: "After over 23 years together at the Hotel, myself and my fellow directors have decided it is time to retire"

The agency dealing with the sale, JLL, has not put a price on the hotel, but invited "substantial offers".

College backs youngsters aiming for medical career

Young people in Cumbria who are thinking about becoming doctors are being offered extra support from Barrow Sixth Form College. 

A report for the Success Regime, a management team set up to improve services for Cumbrian patients, shows the county is short of 20 GPs.  

Some posts have been vacant for more than two years. 

The college is now running a special course to help to prepare students for medical school.

Explosive training at county's new £3m centre

Sian Hall

BBC Radio Cumbria

People who work in potentially dangerous situations are being given the chance to learn life saving techniques at a new training facility in North Cumbria.

Trainees watch explosion

The risk management company DNV GL has spent £3m on the military training ranges at Spadeadam.

People will see fires and explosions in a controlled environment, giving them a better understanding of how major accidents like the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster happen.

Hari Vamadevan, from the company, said: "If you come here, you'll feel the heat from a jet fire, you'll feel the explosion of a confined detonation. 

" Most of us read about this but we learn from experience, and when you experience it you understand so much better."

Offshore wind is county strength, says 'Northern Powerhouse' review

Energy, advanced manufacturing, digital technologies and health innovation are the four areas that could add more than a quarter of a million extra jobs to the North of England by 2050, according to an economic review published today which covers the so-called Northern Powerhouse

It was commissioned by Transport for the North - the body expected to take control of long term transport planning for the region next year. 

Wind farm

Offshore wind power and nuclear research were found to be some to Cumbria's key strengths along with the advanced manufacturing of companies like Barrow's BAE Systems, Wigton's Innovia and Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle.  

MP: Cumbria could lose EU flood money

The Cumbrian Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron says the county could miss out on European money to help the area recover from the floods last winter.

Mr Farron, who leads his party, told BBC Radio Cumbria that the government had put in a bid for £140m and up to £40m could come to Cumbria.

He said: "I was in Brussels on Tuesday and I was speaking to the Croatian MEP who's in charge of that money and he was very keen that we should have it, if only the government would bid for it. 

"We are still members of the EU and the government should apply for the money and do it now."

A Government spokesman said it was still working with local councils to assess their final costs, and if the application was successful, it would consider how best to use the funding to support flood recovery.

Corbyn should copy Cameron and quit, says MP

In case you missed it last night, Copeland Labour MP Jamie Reed wrote to party leader Jeremy Corbyn saying he would "never be leader of our country".

View more on twitter

Top hotelier welcomes chance to recruit worldwide

A leading Cumbrian hotelier claims leaving the European Union will give his industry the chance to recruit from around the world.

Jonathan Denby

Jonathan Denby, who owns a chain of five hotels, is chairman of the Lakes Hospitality Association.

He says leaving the EU will make it easier to employ staff who can help the existing Japanese market and the growing number of guests from elsewhere in the Far East.

"I used to be able to employ people from Japan to speak Japanese to guests and make them welcome when they come here. I want to be able to employ Chinese people because we get a lot of Chinese guests now," he added.

Teenager must sign sex offenders' register for 10 years

A man from Kendal who admitted sex offences against three young girls has been told to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years. 

At Carlisle Crown Court, Callum John Barrett, 19, admitted four offences including sexual assault and two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child. 

Barrett, from Silver Howe Close, was sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders institution, suspended for two years. 

He must also undergo two years' supervision and complete a sex offender treatment programme.

Weather: Bright at first, cloud increasing

BBC Weather

It'll be a dry and bright start with cloud increasing throughout the day. 

There's a risk of some showers developing in parts of Cumbria this afternoon.

Weather graphic

You can get the latest forecast for where you are here.

EU tourism workers 'uncertain' after Brexit vote

About half the people who work in the Lake District's hotels are from overseas - and some from the EU say the referendum vote has left them facing an uncertain future.

Eltermere Inn

Staff at the Eltermere Inn in the village of Elterwater say they've already been asked by guests whether they're leaving soon, but they don't know what the future holds.

Assistant manager Evie Sokol is originally from Poland:

I don't think anybody knows what's going on to be honest. It's like, it's happening but nobody knows what's happening."

But hotel owners say they don't expect problems recruiting staff if ending the free movement of labour makes it harder to employ European workers.  

One said he thought the industry would simply return to the Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans who used to take seasonal jobs in the hotels in the past.

Good morning and welcome to BBC Cumbria Live

Martin Lewes


Good morning. If you're going to work in Carlisle, we understand the fire engine outside Carlisle Castle opposite our newsroom is answering an automatic alarm, probably a false alarm.  

There'll be more updates on the news, weather and travel, through to 16:00 from across Cumbria.

You can send in news and pictures using Twitter @BBC_Cumbria, by emailing us at or by posting on our Facebook page.