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Ambulance crews sent to South Bank incident

The North East Ambulance Service said it had sent six resources including a specialist hazard team to the former SSI plant in South Bank.

Fire crews are also on the scene.

An ambulance spokeswoman said there were no details about any casualties.

We will bring you more details when we have them.

Nominate your community's unsung hero

It's that time of year again, we're looking for your community's unsung coaching hero. In particular, we're celebrating the projects that have really made an impact in the last 12 months, and we need your help to find them.

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Metro operator 'cannot respond' to contract row

The Tyne and Wear Metro operator Nexus says it can't comment on this morning's story that Hitachi has reportedly failed to win the contract for making 54 new trains for the system.

The Japanese firm Hitachi was up against Spanish firm CAF and Swiss train manufacturer Stadler for the £500m contract.

A Nexus spokesperson said: “The procurement of our new train fleet is an ongoing process.

"We cannot comment on any details of the respective bids from Hitachi Rail, Stadler, or CAF at this stage.

"The successful bidder will be officially announced in January.”

Artist's impression of a Metro train

MP hits out at 'mad' government over Sirius Minerals woe

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald has reacted angrily to the news Sirius Minerals has been forced to cancel plans to issue a $500m (£403m) bond for a fertiliser mine it is developing near Teesside.

He said: "This government has completely taken its eye off the ball and, like the podium in Luxembourg, Boris Johnson and his hard right pals have gone missing at a time of crisis.

"This mad administration, propelling the country to economic cliff edge, seems determined to do everything they can to destroy the industrial base of Teesside. They’re keen enough to give tax breaks to gambling bankers but won’t lift a finger to help our industries.

"Sirius is critical to Teesside’s future and if government stands aside as they did with the Redcar Blast Furnace they will never be forgiven.”

Sirius Minerals
Sirius Minerals

Ron Hogg seeks appointment of acting PCC after being "unwell"

Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for County Durham and Darlington, has asked the chair of the Police and Crime Panel to consider appointing an acting commissioner.

Mr Hogg is not standing down, but is "unwell".

The panel will discuss his request on 20 September.

Busty Bank in Burnopfield remains closed this morning

A road in Gateshead was closed yesterday after a lorry crashed into a bridge.

It happened on the Burnopfield Road in Rowlands Gill near the entrance to the National Trust's Gibside estate.

Police closed the road just after 16:00 yesterday afternoon.

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Wildlife expert starts handing out 200 children's books

A man who walked 200 miles this summer to raise money to buy books for Cumbrian children is starting to hand them out today.

Wildlife expert, Jamie Normington, from Old Hutton near Kendal, raised about £7,500 by walking from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay.

Half of the money will be used to buy 200 copies of the children's wildlife book, "The Lost Words", and the rest will go to the National Autistic Society.

Future radio stars on Teesside called to dazzle for 60 seconds

BBC Tees is looking for new blood to make themselves known during a open audition later this month!

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Durham City bus lane fines warning

A mobile enforcement camera is going on patrol catching drivers using Durham bus lanes illegally.

It's starting in North Road as the county council takes over the enforcement role from Durham Police.

North Road
Durham County Council
North Road, Durham.

The council says it regularly gets complaints about drivers using bus lanes and about the lack of enforcement.

In July last year CCTV recorded 66 contraventions in one nine-hour period.

The camera works on automatic number plate recognition.

For the first two weeks, those caught misusing the bus lanes will be sent a warning letter.

From Monday 30 September, they will be issued with a £60 penalty charge notice, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Council worker retires after 50 years

Michael Stevens joined Durham County Council as a 15-year-old apprentice and stayed for 50 years.

Now at 65, Michael, from Croxdale near Durham City, is retiring from his job as a fitter maintaining the authority's fleet of vehicles.

He's a keen rower, having represented Durham in the Rowing World Masters and is now looking forward to more rowing, cycling and spending time with his family.

Michael in  the vehicle yard
Durham County Council
Michael Stevens

Former chairman of Darlington football club, Reynolds, guilty of harassment

Ian Reeve

BBC Look North

The former chairman of Darlington football club, George Reynolds, has been found guilty of harassing a Durham county councillor.

Reynolds, 83, went to the home of Heather Smith, had her car photographed and wrote two letters to her. Mrs Smith said they were unpleasant and threatening in tone.

She had previously alerted the council to work being done without planning permission at a proposed development of Reynolds’ - building holiday lodges at Toft Hill near Bishop Auckland.

Reynolds said he was “full of hell” when he wrote the letters but was found guilty at Teesside Magistrates' Court of harassment without violence by district judge Tim Capstick.

He was fined £1,280 and made these subject of a restraining order for two years.

No-deal Brexit impact in the spotlight

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

With the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looming, some North East councils are meeting today to discuss how they'll deal with any negative impact leaving the EU could have on the region.

The North East Combined Authority - the body which represents Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland - will discuss proposals including free ports and a free trade zone.

Boris Johnson faces a showdown in Parliament later as rebel Tories and Labour MPs are planning a bill to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.

The Government's own predictions are that the North East economy would be the hardest hit if the UK crashes out of Europe without an agreement in place.

County Durham has the most top grades in A-Level Media Studies

Students receive their A-level results
Getty Images

Students in County Durham have scored the highest pass rate of A and A* in Media Studies in England, with 17.5 % of pupils achieving the top grades, Ofgual figures show.

In Maths, which was the most popular subject this year, County Durham students gained most A and A* regionally, as 43.8% of students reached the highest grade.

This is slightly ahead of Northumberland (43.6%) and Tyne and Wear (39.2%).

Work starting on new Durham County Council HQ

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Initial works on the new Durham County Council headquarters are due to start today.

In March council chiefs approved plans for a new £50m headquarters in the centre of Durham.

The council will leave its current home at Aykley Heads and move to the development which will house 1,000 staff on a site currently occupied by a car park.

It will result in the Sands car park closing for two years for building work.

Main construction of the new site begins next month.

The new city centre building will overlook the River Wear

The council's Aykley Heads site opened in 1963, although a 2015 council report concluded it was an "over-sized inefficient building".

It is set to be redeveloped as a business park, previously described by the authority as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to create up to 6,000 jobs.

Absentee landlord tax considered

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

A plan to charge absentee landlords triple council tax is being considered in County Durham.

The county council is looking at ways to help bring long-term empty homes back into use.

There could be a potential premium on top of the normal payment of up to 200% council tax on properties unoccupied and unfurnished for more than five years.

Currently, landlords pay half as much again if they've been empty for more than two years.

A consultation runs until October.

There are an estimated 7,000 empty homes in the county.

To let signs

Woman who died in collision named

A woman who died in a crash on the A1 last week has been named as 68-year-old Mary Graham.

Mrs Graham, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire was a passenger in a Toyota Auris which was involved in a collision with a Ford Transit van at 22:15 on 2 August on the road southbound near the Newton Aycliffe junction.

She died from her injuries two days later.

Two other male passengers in the Auris remain in hospital. The female driver of the car and an 11-year-old boy were also taken to hospital but have since been discharged.

A 34-year-old man has been charged with drink-driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving without insurance.

He is due to appear at Teesside Crown Court on 2 September.

Durham County Council building work

Building work on a new headquarters for Durham County Council is to begin next month.

It's hoped it'll clear the way for a new multimillion-pound business district on the site of the current County Hall, creating up to 6,000 new jobs.

The site around the existing county hall is already home to more than 30 businesses employing 1,300 people.

The council's new building in a city centre riverside site will accommodate 1,000 staff from the existing HQ. A further 850 staff will move to one of four council office sites across the county.