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  1. Updates on Monday 4 September 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Through the day: BBC Cumbria Live

Martin Lewes


We've now finished posting news, travel reports, a regular weather forecast and other items if they catch our eye, for today. Here's a reminder:

We'll be back to do it again from 08:00 tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to pass on news you think we should know, or share a photo with the county, you can email them to us, send them using Twitter where we're @BBC_Cumbria or head to our Facebook page.

Have a very good evening.

Cumbria's weather: Wet and mild

BBC Weather

There'll be more rain that could be heavy by tomorrow morning. It'll be mild though, with temperatures falling to just 14C.

Weather graphic

You can find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you area here.

Amey report: Council chief executive vows to do better next time

Kathleen Fairclough, Cumbria County Council's chief executive, started earlier this year, after the seven year contract with Amey had ended in acrimony and the council and contractor had fought out an expensive court battle.

But it was her job today to say the council had got it wrong and was sorry, as the council published a report on the lessons learned.

Kathleen Fairclough

We're really clear about four or five big areas where things need to get better in the future, and clearly we made mistakes and for that I'm sorry.

One's about contract management and performance management of contracts; acting on issues that are raised along the way."

Ms Fairclough said officials had to pay proper attention to audit reports and other reviews, in a timely way so improvements were made.

We have to have better relationships with our contractors, so we can address issues early enough in a process to make sure that we don't get ourselves in a situation like this again."

Sellafield says pay increase is 'fair and reasonable'

Managers at Sellafield say a pay increase that's led to a vote for strike action is "fair and reasonable".

In a statement this afternoon, the company said: "We made that offer based on company affordability, and it was accepted by the union which has collective bargaining rights for the largest group of our workforce.

"Clearly, we are disappointed at the GMB’s ballot result, and will now start to finalise our arrangements to ensure that the site remains safe and secure during any subsequent action."

Engineers try to halt gas leak

Engineers are trying to close down a gas leak near Arnside which has led to road and rail links being closed down.

But a few moments ago, Stuart Hook from Cumbria Fire and Rescue said some people had been allowed back to their homes after some progress was made reducing the amount of gas escaping.

Lions badge blacked out on bridge rebuilt after flood

A plaque on a Keswick footbridge, installed to replace one washed away in Storm Desmond, has been covered with paint.

Dr Knight's Bridge, so-called in honour of the doctor who paid for it, was replaced with the help of a £20,000 gift from the Lions.

Lions sign blacked out on bridge
Becx Carter

But the signage on the bridge marking the Lions' gift has been the subject of letters in the local newspaper, the Keswick Reminder, because there's no reference to the doctor.

Now the sign's been covered in black paint, leading one poster in a Facebook exchange to at ask: "What is going on at the moment in lovely Keswick?"

Police have appealed for information.

Travel: Trains replaced by buses past gas leak

BBC News Travel

Northern train services between Lancaster and Barrow are being replaced by buses while safety checks are made.

Jail terms handed down to camp site cycle thieves

Two men who stole bicycles worth more than £5,000 from tourists at a camp site at Lamplugh have been sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court, one to 16 months in prison.

Mark Andrew Blamire, 29, of no fixed address, and 18-year-old Cameron Rowe, from Heather Bank, Cleator Moor, took a £3,000 tandem from one visitor, and two bicycles valued at £2,200 from elsewhere on the site.

Blamire and Rowe, who was 17 at the time of the offences, both admitted three counts of theft, and charges of burglary and attempted burglary in Egremont.

Blamire, who was said to have a "blatant disregard" for court orders, was jailed for 16 months. Rowe was sentenced to eight months, suspended for two years, and was made subject to a curfew, a rehabilitation order, and compensation payments.

Hospital staff on awards shortlist after battle of the bug

A team of hospital workers from north Cumbria are in line for a national award because of their work to tackle the winter vomiting bug across north of the county.

The Infection Prevention team working at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital has been nominated in their category for the Nursing Times awards.

It's because of a new strategy they created to deal with norovirus following an outbreak in 2015 which affected more than 300 people across Cumbria.

Infection control team

Travel: Parkside Road in Kendal closed by crash

BBC News Travel

The A684 Parkside Road in Kendal has been closed after a two-vehicle crash.

View more on twitter

Union votes for strike at nuclear plant in pay row

Some workers at the Sellafield nuclear site have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay.


The GMB union says more than three quarters of those who voted in a ballot were in favour of industrial action.

The union says it follows a pay offer from Sellafield Limited of one and a half per cent which was rejected by a separate vote in June.

BreakingFire crews clear homes and businesses in Arnside gas leak

A number of homes and businesses within 200m of a gas leak in Arnside have been evacuated, according to Cumbria Fire and Rescue service.

A fire crew from Milnthorpe, and one from Lancashire, are dealing with the incident on Sandside Road, which was reported just before 13:00.

View more on twitter

The fire service says specialist gas engineers are trying to locate a valve, and the nearby railway line has been closed.

How potholes and street lights totted up to a £20m court bill

Martin Lewes


Putting legalisties to one side, much of the row between Amey and Cumbria County Council was about how the contractors were dealing with potholes and faulty streetlights.

But when the council and contractors disagreed about whether the patching and repairs was being carried out properly, the result was a court case that cost the authority £20m to settle.

According to the report made public today, much of the source of the problem was a contract that didn't spell out clearly enough everyone's responsibilities and obligations clearly enough.

"The contract documentation was voluminous, complex and contained some gaps and inconsistencies that created interpretational uncertainty for all parties."

The report's 20 recommendations spell out how, if the council takes on contracts this big in future, it can avoid unresolved disputes building up, make sure officials work with contractors staff more effectively, and have much greater clarity in the original contract on responsibilities and obligations.

It suggests the council's constitution may need rewriting to make sure decisions to withhold payment are properly taken, so the legal risks are understood.

The report spells out how the council should prepare better for major court cases.

Cumbrian coastal towns on list of the seaside suffering

Two Cumbrian areas feature on lists published today which suggest coastal communities have lagged behind the rest of the country when it comes to wages, employment and health.

Copeland comes seventh with an unemployment rate of 9.6% and Barrow is 13th on a list for the percentage of the population suffering poor health.

The study was put together by the Social Market Foundation.

The government's Coast Communities Fund, launched in 2012, has so far provided £170m for projects around the UK, and announced this week that it would make an extra £40m available.


County says it's learned 27 lessons from roads maintenance court case

Bob Cooper

Political reporter, BBC Cumbria

Cumbria County Council has apologised for mistakes it made in a dispute with roadworks contractor Amey which cost taxpayers more than £20m.

The council's published a lengthy report showing the lessons learned and making 27 recommendations for the future.

The council claimed Amey had done substandard work, which the company disputed and took the council to court.

The council admits it doesn't know who made the decision to withhold money from Amey's final payment.

That decision was criticised by a judge in a ruling last year and left Amey the net beneficiary of the court case.

County hall, kendal

Mistakes made in multimillion-pound roads maintenance contract

Mistakes were made in the handling of a £270m roads maintenance contract that ended in a multimillion-pound legal battle, Cumbria County Council officials have admitted

The giant contracting company Amey took the council to court when the Cumbrian authority refused to pay for what it claimed was substandard work.

Lengthy court proceedings ruled that while there were instances where the council was right to question the work, there were more cases where it was in the wrong.

The findings cost the council more than £20m to settle Amey's claims and legal expenses, but the authority said today that it had failed to find out who decided to withhold money from Amey, and that no one had been disciplined or fired.

Reading Ransome's famous story from cover to cover

A variety of readers spent nine hours telling the story of Swallows and Amazons at the Coniston Boating Centre to mark 50 years since the death of the author, Arthur Ransome,

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Caz Graham, a presenter with the BBC radio programme Farming Today, was one of the readers, and the last of the 31 chapters was read by Sophie Neville, who played Titty in the 1974 film.

First light: Huge Walney wind farm generates power

Electricity has been generated for the first time at the extension to the wind farm off Walney Island, in south Cumbria.

Wind turbine off Cumbrian coast
Dong Energy

The offshore windfarm will eventually become the biggest in the world, according to the company that's building it.

Dong Energy says the 87 turbines will be capable of generating enough energy to meet the yearly electricity demands of more than 500,000 homes.

Travel: Roadworks slow A7 in Carlisle

BBC News Travel

There's very slow traffic on the A7 near Beechwood Road in Carlisle, where temporary traffic lights are in operation.

Jams today: Drivers cautious over A66 time-saving promises

A suggestion by highways engineers that turning the whole stretch of the A66 from Scotch Corner to Penrith into a dual carriage way could save 20 minutes has not impressed some BBC Radio Cumbria listeners.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Cyclist injured in road rage row

A cyclist was injured in what police describe as a "road rage" incident on a narrow and winding stretch of the A591 through the Lake District.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who saw the confrontation between the rider and the driver of a white Volkswagen Transporter van just before 15:00 on Saturday, between the Low Wood Hotel and Ambleside.

It's not thought the cyclist was seriously hurt.

Cumbria's weather: Mainly cloudy with rain later

BBC Weather

There'll be a fair amount of cloud this afternoon with some sunshine here and there, before cloud thickens again from the north.

The maximum temperature will be about 19C (66F).

Weather graphic

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

Going down: Volunteers dig in for new Carlisle excavation

A month-long excavation of a Roman Bath House at Carlisle Cricket Club will get under way this week.

Archeologists in hypocaust

A team of volunteers has been recruited to help with the dig after the remains of the fourth century building were discovered unexpectedly earlier this year.

They'll be digging down to see if earlier remains survive beneath the impressive masonry already discovered.

Lynn Gardener, a senior environmental archaeologist, says even the earth around any artefacts can shed light on the lives of the Roman soldiers who would have used the baths.

We're looking for charred seeds, charcoal, fish bones, that sort of thing, with environmental remains we can look at how people were using the environment."

Lynn GardenerEnvironmental archeologist

Newly-wed who attacked his wife four times is banned from contacting her

A man who attacked his wife four times within weeks of their wedding in Las Vegas has been banned from contacting her for 10 years by a judge at Carlisle Crown Court.

Wisdom Patrick Lee, 30, of Bridge House Road, Blackpool, admitted four charges of assault, two of which took place in the Penrith area, and putting a person in fear of violence.

The court was told Lee had already served the equivalent of a 10-month prison term, on remand. He was given a 12-month community order and was also ordered to complete 180 hours unpaid work.

Engineers say dualling A66 could reduce accident toll

Plans to dual the A66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner could make it safer, according to Highways England engineers.

Last year, the Treasury confirmed the entire stretch between Scotch Corner and Penrith would become dual carriageway some time after 2020.

A66 near Warcop

The single-carriage sections of the road have a bad record for accidents and add an estimated 20 minutes to the journey from Scotch Corner to Penrith.

There tend to be fewer injury accidents on dual carriageways and they tend to be less severe."

Jonathan ReadeHighways England

Watch: How Cumbria's weather helps prepare Britain's soldiers for war

The bad weather that sometimes sweeps across the Cumbrian side of the Pennines is an important part of training at the huge Warcop firing range, according to the officer in charge of live iring there.

Capt Neil Gerrin says recruits take part in their first live firing exercises at Warcop towards the end of their basic training and while Cumbria can't equal the extremes of heat and cold soldiers might meet around the world, the variety of weather is part of the experience.

What Warcop does offer is sometimes all of those elements in one day."

Captain Neil Gerrin
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If it ain't raining, it ain't training."

Army saying

Homes evacuated after Wigton arson attack

Homes in Station Road in Wigton were evacuated after arsonists set fire to a van carrying tyres and a Vauxhall Astra in the small hours of Sunday morning.

Four fire crews spent three hours dealing with the blazing vehicles. Police have appealed for witnesses.

New Brunton Park press room remembers BBC 'voice of Carlisle United'

BBC Cumbria Sport

A new media suite at Carlisle United's stadium has bene named in memory of Derek Lacey, the BBC Radio Cumbria commentator who covered more than 500 of the club's matches over 13 years.

Plaque on door of new media suite

Cumbrian firms warned of looming skills shortage

An £8.5m fund has been set up to help smaller Cumbrian businesses avoid what's described as a "looming skills shortage", but the grants are only available until next July.

Engineering hands
Getty Images

The county's chamber of commerce says about 80,000 new workers will have to be recruited by 2021 to replace staff who leave or fill new jobs.

Currently only 28% of workers in the county have a level four qualification such as an HNC, but 40% of the new jobs will need people trained to this level.

Rob Johnston from the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, which is running the scheme, says factors such as an ageing population will make recruiting harder.

All of the indications we're seeing coming out of the future economy require a higher skills base and that's why this is such an important project."

Rob JohnstonChief executive, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

Weather on the fell tops: Cloud down on western hills

  • Temperatures at 3,000ft: 12C.
  • Winds: Fresh southerly becoming southwesterly gusting 30mph.
  • Cloud: Extensive down to 1,600ft, perhaps down to 1,000ft in the southwest.
  • Visibility: Good in the east, moderate to poor in the southwest

Cumbria's weather: Murky start, brighter later

BBC Weather

It'll be a cloudy and murky start with patchy light rain and drizzle, mist and extensive hill fog. The low cloud will lift and it will gradually brighten in places.

There will be light southerly winds and a maximum temperature of 19C (66F).

Weather graphic

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

Travel: Northern trains hit by another strike

BBC News Travel

Northern rail services are affected again today by a strike, part of the continuing dispute over the role of guards. Services are severely reduced.

Passengers are advised to check before travelling on the Cumbria Coast Line, the Lakes Line, the Settle to Carlisle line, or across from Carlisle to Newcastle.

Good morning and welcome to BBC Cumbria Live

Martin Lewes


We'll be keeping up with the news and travel reports, posting a regular weather forecast, and dropping in the odd other nugget from the county, through until about 18:00.

As always, if you want to pass on news you think we should know, or share a photo with the county, you can email them to us, send them using Twitter where we're @BBC_Cumbria or head to our Facebook page.