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Unemployment in South West lowest in country

Unemployment in the South West was 2.7% in the three months ending in April, down from 3.3% last year.

This is the lowest rate of all the regions in the UK. The highest unemployment rate in the UK was the North East at 5.7%.

The UK’s unemployment rate has stayed at 3.8%, its lowest since late 1974.

Unemployment chart

UK wage growth faster than expected

Devon flood alert in place

A flood alert for Devon has been issued, affecting areas around the rivers Culm and Clyst.

The Environment Agency warns flooding is possible for Hemyock, Cullompton, Stoke Canon, Broadclyst and Clyst St Mary.

The main area of concern is the River Culm, where levels suggest that there will be flooding to low lying land and roads close to the river.

Levels are expected to remain high throughout Tuesday, though no flooding to properties is forecast.

South West weather: More rain on the way

BBC Weather

There will be low cloud around the coasts and across the moors this afternoon. Winds will be fresh or strong northerly, gusting near gale in exposed locations.

Maximum: 13C

It will be overcast overnight with outbreaks of rain that could still be heavy at times. It will ease through the night to be very light and patchy by dawn, but with some low cloud and hill fog over the moors. Winds will ease to be fresh reducing moderate north easterly.

Minimum Temperature: 8C

Weather map

Very wet with heavy rain throughout

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

It's a wet start to the day with a flood alert around the River Exe near Cullompton.


For the rest of the day it will be very wet and breezy, with prolonged spells of frontal rain spreading from the east throughout, these often heavy and persistent.

High rainfall totals possible, but some uncertainty still.

Maximum temperature: 11 to 14°C (52 to 57°F)

Weather warning in place for Devon and Cornwall

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

The Met Office has issued a weather warning with more heavy rain expected this afternoon across Devon and Cornwall.

Here is what the Met Office said to watch out for:

  • Bus and train services affected with journey times taking longer
  • Spray and flooding on roads will make journey times longer
  • A few homes and businesses flooded
  • Some interruption to power supplies and other services

The warning is in place until 19:00.

Weather map

Number of Devon's children being home educated 'doubles'

Sophie Pierce

BBC Radio Devon

The number of children being home educated in Devon has more than doubled in the last five years, according to figures from Devon County Council.

Councillors on its children's scrutiny committee will hear later how the number has increased from 750 to nearly 1,600 and how about a third of these children have special needs.

It's thought the growth in home education is due in part to the increasing number of parents of children with disabilities who feel the schools are letting them down.

Lyndsay Haywood is home educating her eight-year-old daughter who has autism.

She says she was forced into it after the school failed to meet her daughter's needs...

Earlier this year, regulator Ofsted said there were "significant areas of weakness" in the service provided by Devon for children with special needs.

Devon County Council said the situation is being exacerbated by continuing budget cuts from central government.

Councillor James McInnes, who chairs a national group of local councils lobbying the government for more education funding, conceded the situation was not ideal and was also worried about disillusioned parents taking their children out of school.

Almost a third of local authority secondary schools in England were unable to cover their costs, a study from the Education Policy Institute earlier this year suggested.

But the Department for Education said that, across all types of state schools, more than 90% are in surplus.

Gulliver takes over at Plymouth Albion

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Ben Gulliver has been appointed as the new head coach of Plymouth Albion.

The 38-year-old replaces Kieran Hallett at the National One side and returns to the club where he spent two seasons as a player from 2006 before moving to the Cornish Pirates.

"I feel so privileged to be asked to be head coach at Plymouth Albion. It really feels like I’m coming home,” said Gulliver, who also spent time with Premiership side Worcester.

“I know a few of the guys at Plymouth from my playing days there and I have a good understanding of them as individuals and I think that will help us develop as a team.

Ben Gulliver
Getty Images

"I’ll be going in with a blank canvas and I want to get to know the players better. We’ll work hard but there will be fun. I think there’s a very good, strong squad here and it gives me something to get my teeth into.”

Albion’s managing director Max Venables commented: "Ben has a wealth of experience and knowledge, both on and off the field, and is really passionate about Plymouth Albion.

"Ben shares our vision of where we want the club to get to, so - combined with the work that we have been putting in quietly behind the scenes - we believe that we will have a very strong squad and sense of direction for the forthcoming season.

“I am feeling extremely positive about Plymouth Albion and the direction it is going in right now.”

Weather: A cloudy and showery start before cloud breaks

BBC Weather

A cloudy start to Monday, with scattered showers spreading north across the area.


Cloud breaking to allow more in the way of sunshine during the afternoon, but the odd shower still possible.

Maximum temperature: 13 to 16C (55 to 61F).

Parts of A303 dualling 'may not happen'

BBC Spotlight

Plans to dual the entire length of one of the major roads in and out of the South West will be delayed, and some parts of the project may now not happen.

In 2014, the Department for Transport (DfT) identified eight stretches to complete the dualling of the A303 trunk road connecting the region to the South East.

Despite rising costs the DfT maintained it was committed to three of the projects, including the A358 Taunton Link Road, which is now a year behind schedule.

But the remaining five have been classified as "low to poor value for money", prompting fears they may fall by the wayside.


Thunderstorm warning in South West

It's on its way- here's what to expect says the Met Office:

  • Heavy thundery showers may cause some travel disruption
  • Some flooding of a few homes and businesses likely, leading to some damage to buildings or structures
  • Spray and flooding on roads probably making journey times longer
  • Bus and train services probably affected with journey times taking longer
  • Some interruption to power supplies and other services likely

View more on twitter

Ann Widdecombe bemoans 'liberal tyranny' after gay science row

Ann Widdecombe says she does not regret her comments about sexuality, which have led to some of her theatre appearances being cancelled.

Ann Widdecombe

Venues in Altrincham in Greater Manchester, Devon and Surrey have axed tour dates of her show after she suggested science could "produce an answer" to being gay.

Miss Widdecombe said her comments had been "distorted" on social media and that theatres refusing to host shows were "denying free speech".

Her critics have accused her of waging an "anti-LGBT campaign".

The Brexit Party MEP denied this and told the BBC:

This is now the grip that I call the liberal tyranny and I think we have got to fight it.

Bikers caught at up to 116mph by police operation

BBC Radio Devon

Bikers were caught riding at up to 116mph after a speeding clampdown by Devon and Cornwall Police.


The operation on 22, 23 and 29 May and 1 June also caught bikers doing 99mph and 96mph on the 70mph-limited A30 and A38.

Another biker was recorded doing 81mph in a 40mph zone of the A386, among a total of 500 speeding offences over the four-day action.

PC Ralph Delbridge said the figures were "disappointing" because motorcyclists were "undoubtedly some of the most vulnerable road users".

Thunderstorm forecast for Devon and Cornwall

Get your umbrellas ready because there's an official warning of heavy rain later.

Met Office

The yellow warning from the Met Office from 14:00 to 23:00 comes amid a forecast of thundery showers across much of the South West.

The heaviest showers will clear to the north east, leaving an increasingly windy and cloudy night, with patchy rain at times. Minimum Temperature: 7 to 10°C (45 to 50°F)

Schools celebrate World Ocean Day

BBC Spotlight


Children across the south west will be celebrating our oceans today as part of Schools Ocean Day.

The event, organised by the National Marine Aquarium as part of World Ocean Day on 8 June, aims to help primary schools teach pupils about the marine environment and the habitats and different species within it.

Children will be taking part in activities including rock-pooling on the region's beaches and fancy dress in the classroom.

What the day should be is a celebration of the ocean. I think we're all well aware now that the ocean is facing some quite serious problems, but World Ocean Day should be about celebration of the habitats, the animals, what the ocean does for us and what we can do to help it."

Nicola BridgeNational Marine Aquarium

Weather: A very wet day with odd sunny spells

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

A very wet start with persistent rain across the region.

Through the afternoon, some sunny spells will develop, but there will also be a good scattering of heavy showers - some of which will turn thundery.

Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).

weather map

Postcard highlights impact of development on countryside

BBC Spotlight

CPRE Devon

The Devon Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England says it has been overwhelmed by the response from the public to its Greetings from Glorious Devon postcard campaign.

The group has printed thousands of cards highlighting development on green fields and is asking people to send them to Kit Malthouse, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

In May, Mr Malthouse announced a major new scheme to build “20,000 much-needed properties” across Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge.

Holiday makers come to Devon because they love the countryside, the peace and quiet, the fresh air, the seaside. Are they honestly coming to look at sprawling housing estates and traffic jams? I don't think they are, so we're hoping this will attract a lot of attention."

Penny MillsDirector, CPRE Devon

Mr Malthouse says only one per cent of England is developed with homes and the government has "failed to build enough homes over the last few decades".

Last link in sight for new Wray Valley cycle trail

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A cycle trail that links Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead should be complete by the end of the year.


More than 5km of the 11km Wray Valley Trail have been built so far, from Moretonhampstead to Wray Barton in the north and between Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh in the south.

The final £1m section of the trail is set to be finished this autumn, and Teignbridge District Council’s executive on Thursday morning agreed to put £100,000 towards the project.

Council leader Gordon Hook said he was looking forward to using the trail himself, adding: “It will be a huge boost for the area".

Much of the route follows the old Moretonhampstead Branch Line, which opened in 1866 and closed to passengers in 1959 and freight in 1964, before the track was lifted in 1970.


Brother and sister duo competing at first county show

James Churchfield

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Royal Cornwall Show has been entertaining and informing visitors since 1793, but every year the event attracts new visitors.

Two of them this year include William and Harriet Allin from Milton Damerel in Devon.

The brother and sister duo, aged 14 and 12, have entered their own Zwartbles sheep in the show for the first time.

They completed the entry forms themselves and will be competing against the adults.

William has been describing the journey they've taken to get to this point...

Pig slurry power plant gets green light

BBC Radio Devon

Silage, pig slurry and horse manure - that potent and pongy combination will be used to produce gas in a £12m plant in Crediton.

Plant map

The anaerobic digester which has just been given the go-ahead by planners will process about 32,500 tonnes of the farm waste every year.

The plant at Lords Meadow Industrial Estate will produce enough gas to supply more than 3,000 homes.

It was approved despite concerns from two local parish councils that the location is too close to homes and businesses.

Backers say it will also produce fertilizer and won't smell at all.

Weather: Sunny periods and scattered showers

BBC Weather

There will be periods of sunshine throughout the day but some cloud will build up - bringing scattered showers.

One or two of the showers could be heavy and perhaps thundery later.

Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).

weather map

Weather: A largely dry day ahead

BBC Weather

A largely dry day with cloud turning patchier to the north and east to allow more in the way of sunshine.

There might be the occasional scattered shower.

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

weather map

Devon and Cornwall road deaths to be discussed at meeting

BBC Spotlight

Road accident

Almost 60 people have died on Devon and Cornwall's roads in the last year, according to new figures.

The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Devon and Cornwall will meet in St Mellion later to discuss ways of tackling the problem.

Between March 2018 and March this year, there were 58 deaths on roads in the Devon and Cornwall force area and 837 serious casualties - according to figures from the OPCC.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez is the national lead for roads policing for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Last year she commissioned a new Road Safety Strategy which embraced a "spirit of shared responsibility" between organisations and recommended a deeper "partnership problem-solving approach".

Weather: A rainy day ahead

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

It is a wet morning in parts with outbreaks of rain, often heavy.

Some heavy or thundery showers can be expected in the late afternoon and evening.

Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).

weather map

10-minute targets to attend fires are 'impossible to meet'

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Targets to attend fires in parts of Devon and Somerset in 10 minutes are impossible to meet, the fire service admits.

The revelation was made by the service in a survey asking for the views of the public on their response strategy - the vision for how they respond to fire and rescue incidents.

A 12-week public consultation around proposed changes to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service will take place this summer.

Proposals in the consultation could include the relocation of personnel, appliances, equipment and even fire stations to enable them to meet their target response times.

Responses to the survey will shape the initial proposals for changes to the service, which will go before the Fire Authority at the end of June, as part of the Safer Together programme.

Fire engine

The programme will change the way the service works to ensure they are responding to current and future risks in the two counties.

It says the locations of the fire stations and the way they are crewed don't currently address issues the service is facing, such as new large housing developments, people living further away from their places of work, an increasingly elderly population, changes to technology and far fewer fires to tackle.

The service is currently working on the draft proposals, currently planned to go before the Fire Authority on June 28, and if approved, a full 12-week public consultation process starting in July on what is planned will take place.

No details of what the proposals will be have been revealed, but it is understood that some of the 85 current fire stations will close while others will be relocated.

Woman's charity hope for Huntington's disease care

Anna Varle

BBC News Online

Robyn Petrie Ritchie with Trelawney

A carer from Devon is setting up a charity to provide one-to-one respite care for people with Huntington's disease.

Robyn Petrie Ritchie has been looking after her friend, Trelawney - who has the disease - for two-and-a-half years.

When she met him in a care home, she was told he had just six months to live, but with one-to-one care he's now living a full life - a model which she says could benefit many others with the disease.

She now wants to set up a respite centre for people who are trying to keep their loved ones at home...

Weather: Cooler with showers, but dry spells too

BBC Weather

Noticeably cooler than the weekend with a few scattered showers throughout Monday.


There will be some sunny and dry spells too, with a fresh breeze.

Maximum temperature: 15 to 18C (59 to 64F).

Leaving Devon and Cornwall? Major delays on M5

If you're leaving Devon and Cornwall there are major delays on the M5.

In Somerset, northbound, there's severe congestion, between J26 and J20.

There's stop-start traffic and severe delays between the two junctions. Travel time is one hour 50 minutes.

TV presenter 'delighted' with new marine zones

Marine science presenter Maya Plass has welcomed extra protection for marine life in south Devon.

View more on twitter

The government is designating 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) including the Erme estuary, the upper part of the Dart estuary and an area east of Start Point.

Maya tweeted that it was "fantastic news" and she was "delighted" at the extra protection for rare and endangered species.

Five days of rail disruption expected as RMT strike

BBC Spotlight

Passengers who travel on South Western Railway services to and from London Waterloo are to face five days of disruption next month.

The RMT Union has announced strikes from 18 June to 22 June.

It is in the long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Walkouts were suspended in February but no agreement has been reached in the meantime.

New marine zones created to protect wildlife

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Twelve new marine conservation zones have been designated in the seas around Devon and Cornwall.

The UK government has announced new safeguards from the Dart estuary to the Isles of Scilly.

More than 6,000 sq km in the South West will now be part of the UK's blue belt - that's an area twice the size of Cornwall.

Species and habitats that will benefit include fan mussels and the deep sea bed.

This is a tremendous moment for our internationally famous coast and surrounding seas. Until now, far too much of it has been unprotected. The challenge now is to manage these sites properly, stop damaging activities like scallop dredging and monitor their condition so that we can be sure to leave future generations with something at least as good as we have today.

Harry BartonChief Executive of Devon Wildlife Trust
Pentire Point

South West weather: Murky with fog patches

BBC Weather

It'll be quite a murky start to the day with patchy drizzle and a few isolated fog patches.

Although skies will quickly clear, in most places, through the morning, allowing some good periods of warm sunshine to develop.

However, patchy sea mist or fog patches are likely to continue to affect southern coastal areas throughout the day.

Winds will be light or moderate south or south-westerly.

Maximum Temperature: 18 to 21°C.





Derriford A&E still 'requires improvement'

BBC Spotlight

Derriford Hospital's emergency department has been rated as "requiring improvement" following a recent inspection.

The unannounced review by the Care Quality Commission found staff were committed to improving patient care.

But there are concerns over poor patient flow through the hospital and triage processes taking too long.

The hospital said its accident and emergency wing was built to treat a maximum of 240 people per day but on average sees more than 300, with one day last month peaking at nearly 400 patients.

Derriford Hospital

Three-weekly bin collections trial in West Devon

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Rubbish bin collections could take place every three weeks for 1,000 homes in West Devon from November.

West Devon Borough Council's hub committee are being asked next Tuesday to approve a trial to start later this year.

If the trial is successful in increasing recycling rates, the system could be rolled out to the rest of the region.

Non-recyclable waste is currently collected fortnightly. The recycling and food waste collections would remain weekly and the garden waste service would continue as normal.

The net savings expected from a three-weekly scheme across the whole borough is estimated at between £100,000 and £150,000 per year.

A report will come back to the hub committee after six months detailing any environmental and financial impacts, and determining the effects of a borough-wide scheme. If successful and subsequently agreed by the council, a borough-wide roll out could take place in March 2021.

Rubbish lorry

Surge in coastal deaths last year

BBC Spotlight

More people were killed on the South West coast in 2018 than the year before.

The RNLI revealed that 25 people died last year, compared with 18 in 2017 - and 80% were male.

People are being urged to follow its advice as it launches its Respect the Water campaign at Perranporth this morning - one of Cornwall's busiest beaches.

The charity's putting last year's increase down to the surge in the number of people at the coast due to the record hot summer - but said on average the number of coastal deaths is continuing to fall.