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Newcastle pollution charge consultation extended

BBC Newcastle

A consultation on a proposed clean air zone for Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside has been extended.

Newcastle City Council says the extra time until midnight on Sunday is needed following problems with the website.

There are two options open to public consultation:

  • A Clear Air Zone (CAZ) in which cars and taxis that fail to meet minimum emissions standards would pay £12.50 a day to enter, with the most polluting buses and lorries paying £50 a day.

Or:

  • Tolls of up to £3.40 on the three major road bridges across the River Tyne, known as the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Buses and HGVs which meet the council's emission standards will pay nothing- if they do not, they will be banned from the city centre.
Tyne Bridge
NCJ Media

Sunderland dad 'is going to deeply missed and never forgotten'

The family of Paul Hutchinson, who died following an attack in Sunderland, have paid tribute to him.

The 42-year-old dad of Ford Estate suffered serious head injuries following the assault on Sunday morning and died in hospital a few days later.

In a family statement he was described as a "fun, loving and caring lad who would do anything for his family".

they added: "Paul's mission in life was to please his family and friends. He is going to deeply missed and never forgotten."

A 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and has since been released on bail.

Paul Hutchinson
Northumbria Police

Carl Beech 'did not know' alleged abusers' names

A man accused of making false claims of abuse and murder against a string of public figures named just two people - his stepfather and Jimmy Savile - when he first told police, a court heard.

Carl Beech, 51, said in a police interview in 2012 - which was shown to the jury at Newcastle Crown Court - that he had been abused by a "group".

But he did not name all those he later accused at that point.

He denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

Carl Beech
Crown Prosecution Service

Sam Fender 'plays God'

What would happen if Sam Fender ruled the world?

BBC Radio 1 asked the North Shields singer to "Play God" and decide what animal to evolve and what super powers to give humans.

Watch his answers below.

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Woman critical after being hit by delivery truck

A pedestrian remains in a critical condition in hospital after she was hit by a delivery truck in North Shields.

The 60-year-old suffered serious injuries in the incident on Northumberland Square yesterday lunchtime.

Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses to the collision, or anyone with dashcam footage, to come forward.

Kacper thanks crew who saved him after Eden 'drowning'

Adam Powell

Journalist, BBC Radio Cumbria

A teenage boy who almost drowned in a Cumbrian river has thanked the team which saved his life.

Kacper Krauze was flown by the Great North Air Ambulance from Appleby to the Royal Victoria in Newcastle in February after he got into difficulties in the River Eden and spent between 25 and 30 minutes underwater.

Casper with parents and GNAA crew
GNAA

The infirmary is the only hospital in the region which can provide treatment called ECMO, where the patient's blood is taken out of their body through a tube, and machinery takes over the work of the heart and lungs, crucially warming up blood before returning it.

Dr Theo Weston, the first doctor on the scene, said that a long chain of treatment had to start right from the moment Kacper was pulled from the water by firefighters, to start his route to recovery.

Without the care that he had at the scene, and then with the air ambulance guys being able to keep him going to get him to the right hospital where he could go on to the bypass machines and getting him warmed up, without that he would not have survived."

Dr Theo Weston

Every morning I think, did this really happened? Absolutely wonderful, amazing people, amazing job."

Wioletta KrauzeKacper's Mum

Steve Cram steps down from Sunderland University

Steve Cram will step down as Chancellor of Sunderland University in July.

In his 11 years in the role, the former Olympic silver medalist has officiated at more than 100 graduation ceremonies.

He'll present students with academic awards and make his final address to the congregation, at graduation ceremonies in July 2019.

He said: "Over the past decade I have seen the university go from strength to strength as it has grown in stature and confidence, both in Sunderland itself and at its campuses in London and Hong Kong.

"I will continue to keep in close touch with institutional developments such as the university’s new School of Medicine which opens next September.”

The university says an announcement on the appointing of a new chancellor will be made soon.

Steve Cram
Sunderland University

Last chance to have your say on pollution plans

BBC Newcastle

Public consultation over plans to charge drivers for entering parts of Tyneside ends this week.

Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside councils have put forward several options to combat air pollution - including charging vehicles for going over the Tyne or going into certain zones.

Drivers could be charged up to £50 a day to enter the city and town centres.

The local authorities say they've been given until 2021 to meet government clean air targets.

Representatives from Newcastle and Gateshead councils will be taking calls with Alfie and Anna at Breakfast between 09:00 and 10:00 on Monday.

You can get in touch by calling 0800 234 65 65, text 81333 (start your message BBC), or find us on social media @bbcnewcastle.

Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides
BBC

Time is ticking for clean air toll

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Daniel Holland

Traffic on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle
NCJ Media

People in Newcastle have a week left to have their say on whether a clean air toll will be imposed on roads.

The new charges would force people to pay to enter the city centre in an attempt to cut congestion.

Councillor Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality, urged people from all backgrounds to take part in the consultation.

She said: “It is vitally important that people have their say on the public health crisis facing us as a result of poor air quality.

“If we do nothing, the air quality in Tyneside will get worse and people will suffer as a result.

"That affects everyone, you cannot avoid this and hope it goes away, and if we are to solve this we must do so together."

A possible Low Emission Zone area around Newcastle city centre
Newcastle City Council

Residents can currently choose between two options: a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which would mean a £12.50 daily charge on only high-polluting vehicles covering the centres of Newcastle and Gateshead, stretching up to Gosforth and down the Coast Road to Wallsend; or a £1.70 toll on the Tyne, Swing, and Redheugh bridges.

The public consultation comes after the government ordered Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside council to reduce dangerous emmissions by 2021.

People can vote until next Friday, 17 May.

A possible Clean Air Zone around Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside
Newcastle City Council

University rowers prepare to skull with skill

The annual university boat race is taking place on Newcastle's quayside tomorrow.

Newcastle University Boat Club are hoping to retain the title for the 11th year in a row over Durham University Boat Club.

The race starts at 13:30.

Boat race
BBC

Dog theft on the rise but many returned to owners

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

There's been a big rise in the number of stolen dogs reported in parts of the North East.

Two of the region's police forces - Northumbria and Cleveland - say they're up 40% on last year.

Yet in neighbouring County Durham there's been a drop of 18%.

There was a big rise in the number of dogs eventually returned to their owners in the Cleveland force area but a drop in the Northumbria area.

PTSD 'at crisis levels' among police officers

Danny Shaw

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst police officers in the UK is far more common than was ever thought, a new survey suggests.

One - Durham PC Lee Jackson - was floored by the medical condition, which affects thousands of officers without them even realising.

"I thought I was pretty much invulnerable," says the 47-year-old constable.

"I didn't see things building up or the problems that were going to affect us."

PC Lee Jackson
BBC

Fun day out for pupils at vandal-hit special school

Pupils at a Newcastle school hit by a vandal attack which police described as a "hate crime" have been treated to a day out at the funfair.

Hadrian School, which caters for children with special needs, was targeted a year ago.

Slurs aimed at pupils were painted on the playground and a minibus's windows smashed.

Paint was thrown over specialist play equipment and graffiti was left on a welcome sign.

Since then, the community has rallied round, and there have been donations and offers of help from around the country.

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Tyne Tunnel tolls to increase

Tolls to get through the Tyne Tunnel are increasing from midnight on Sunday.

They're going up by 10p to £1.80 for cars and 20p for heavy goods vehicles to £3.60.

Pre-pay customers will still get a 10% discount on each journey.

Exeter academic jailed for spying filing formal complaint

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

An academic from Exeter who was jailed for spying in the United Arab Emirates is filing a formal complaint against the British government over the way it handled his case.

Durham University PhD student Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Gulf state last year after being accused of working for MI6.

He was pardoned in November, although officials continued to call him a spy, which he denies.

He said the Foreign Office did not take "effective and timely" action to secure his release.

His wife, Daniela Tejada, explained to BBC Devon why they felt they needed to make the formal complaint...

Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life imprisonment after being accused of spying

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the government has taken the situation seriously and has been "very effective".

Results reflect national picture, as big two lose out

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

It's not over - it's far, far from over.

Many hundreds of seats are yet to declare. Many individual political stories yet to be told. So be very aware - the final shape of wins and losses for the government and the main opposition is unclear.

But at this stage of the morning, there is one message to both of the main parties at Westminster from this enormous set of elections - it's not us, it's both of you.

Polling station in country
PA

Local elections are about different issues in our villages, towns and cities. But at count after count, Tory and Labour candidates have been paying the price for Westminster's failure so far to settle the Brexit question. Council leaders from both parties saying openly that voters can't trust them any more because of how they have dealt with the issue - whether that is a sentiment among Leave voters in Sunderland who don't trust that we'll ever leave, or Remain voters in Bath who are furious that we likely will.

Or more simply maybe, now we are nearly three years on from the referendum itself, this is a verdict on the competence of Westminster's biggest parties, on the mess of handling Brexit.

The beneficiaries? A Lib Dem recovery of sorts, a marked pick-up for the Greens, and independent councillors gobbling up seats in different pockets of the country. By traditional measures at this early stage, Labour is far from making the strides of a party marching towards Number 10. The Tories have so far escaped the worst. But their divisions over Brexit have cost them both - and neither of them have an obvious way out.

But as I say, many more results are yet to come in, and you can keep up with them here throughout the day.

Follow the story of the North Tyneside election count

Labour have retained control of North Tyneside Council.

They won 17 seats, down one, with Conservatives gaining one to win three seats.

The new council is made up of 51 Labour seats, seven Conservatives and one each for Liberal Democrats and Independent.

Our reporter Flossie Mainwaring-Taylor was there for the whole night and you can see the story of the results in her tweets here.

View more on twitter

Counting taking place at North Tyneside

On North Tyneside Council 20 seats are up for grabs.

Labour is defending 18 - with two others in the running.

Conservatives and UKIP are contesting all 20 seats with eight Greens, three Lib Dems and one Independent in the running.

View more on twitter

North East result timings

With counting under way for council seats across the North East, here's what we are expecting tonight:

Sunderland, Hartlepool and North and South Tyneside councils are the first expected to declare, from about 01:00.

The result for the directly elected mayor of Middlesbrough is due about 03:00.

This is expected to be following by Newcastle City Council.

Tyne Pedestrian Tunnels to reopen in June

Tyne Pedestrian Tunnels to reopen in June after revamp
The Tyne Pedestrian Tunnels are set to reopen after a six-year refurbishment. 

The £7m project, complete with CCTV and better ventilation, wil be completed at the end of June.

'County lines' raids see 24 arrests

Twenty-four people have been arrested across Tyneside in the first operation of its kind in the Northumbria force area to target the national drug crime known as "county lines" where gangs use vulnerable or young people to traffic drugs.

The raids took place in Byker and Wallsend yesterday at the same time others were being carried out in Stevenage, Norwich, Glasgow and London.

The local operation saw 18 men and six women arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A Drugs.

An arrested man is put in the back of a police van
Northumbria Police

Man left with serious injuries following attack in Byker

A man has been left with serious injuries following an attack in Byker.

In the early hours of 9 April, the 47-year-old was assaulted and left with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

'Today we got our beautiful boy back'

A woman who appealed for people to help find her missing brother said he has been found.

Ashleigh Marr previously said she believed her brother Alex Johnson fell from the Tyne Bridge in the early hours of 16 April and appealed for help in finding him.

Northumbria Police said they recovered a body from the river this morning but a formal identification is yet to take place.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Marr said: "Today we got our beautiful boy back.

"We have visited him and he’s resting now"

University trial could make splash in plastic pollution battle

Low-cost acoustic tags attached to fishing nets are being trialed as part of a major new project to reduce marine litter.

Engineers at Newcastle University are developing new transponder technology - nanomodems - for locating and recovering lost fishing gear, also known as ghost nets.

Often lost in storms, they are a key source of plastic pollution and a serious threat to wildlife and habitats as well as being dangerous to boats as they can be caught up in propellers.