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One third of new trains now on tracks, says Northern

The train company Northern says 33 of the 101 new trains being brought into service are now operational.

New train

Stations served by the new fleet include Oxenholme and Barrow and Windermere.

Earlier this week, new statistics showed fewer than half of Northern's services ran precisely to time, down on the summer figure of 61%, although the company blamed bad weather and congestion on rail tracks.

LED streetlights save £1m a year - and spark complaints

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Cumbria's councillor in charge of environmental issues has been inundated with complaints about energy-saving streetlights introduced across Cumbria this year.

LED streetlight

The council wants to change all its lighting to LEDs by the end of 2021 as part of a move to save money, slash energy consumption and reduce light pollution.

The £5.3m county-wide improvement scheme will help the authority reduce power bills by more than £1m a year, saving enough electricity to power a small town.

But Celia Tibble, the cabinet member for environment, revealed that her inbox is regularly crammed with emails complaining that the dimmer lights are “dangerous” and "we can't see by them".

One of the big things that we have done for light pollution and saving energy is the LED bulbs and I can tell you that that has been the biggest complaint in my email box and from people on the streets."

Celia Tibble

Winners revealed in the 2019 Business Awards

News and Star


At a glittering ceremony at the Halston in Carlisle, finalists and business leaders gathered to hear who had won the hotly-contested 17 categories up for grabs.

Cathy Newman with sponsors and winners
News and Star

Cocaine is rising problem for drug charity in 40th year

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

There's a warning that an increasing number of young people in Cumbria, who start using cocaine on a night out, are becoming addicted to the drug.

CADAS, the Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service, now in its 40th year, says such recreational drug use is its largest concern.

Cocaine lines
Getty Images

Drug advisors at the charity say that the users, predominantly men, sometimes don't even realise cocaine is forbidden by law as a Class A drug, and slip into dependency as they start using it through the week as well as on Saturday nights.

You're talking about relatively well-off, relatively mentally well or stable individuals who are getting involved in something, maybe not seeing the end result as an addiction."

Phil CaineCADAS recovery coach

County council plans to ask for an extra 4% on tax bills

People in Cumbria could be paying nearly 4% more on the largest share of their council tax from next year.

County council sitting

The county council provides services ranging from highway maintenance to consumer protection, and the proposed increase falls into two parts, an extra 1.99% on general expenditure, and a 2% levy to account for increasing demand for social care.

It amounts to just over £1 a week for a typical band D property, and the authority is asking the public for their comments.

The total council tax bill also includes money for disitrict and borough councils, the police, and in some areas, parish and town councils.

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy with some rain in the east

BBC Weather

This morning will be fairly cloudy with spells of rain mostly affecting eastern areas.

There will be brisk winds and highest temperatures from 6C to 9C (43F to 48F).

Weather graphic

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

Driver escapes unhurt in icy road crash

The driver of this Peugeot was unhurt when his car skidded and overturned on a minor road from Brisco into Carlisle this morning.

It was one of a number of roads affected by ice after showers were followed by a drop in temperatures.

Overturned car
Craig McGlasson

A county council spokesman said the road was a priority three route, treated only in prolonged severe conditions.

"The council routinely pre-salts around 2,400km of roads in a full gritting run of priority one and two routes – approximately one-third of the county’s entire road network."

Cumbria's weather: More cloud and more chance of a shower

BBC Weather

Cloud may become more extensive tonight, increasing the chance of a shower or two.

It will become rather cold and the moderate northerly wind will persist, with lowest temperatures from 0C to 3C (32F to 37F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Village plan fails to save old peoples' home

Local people have failed in an attempt to take over an old peoples' home in Stavelely, near Kendal, which Cumbria County Council says needed major improvements and would not be financially viable in future.

A report to a council cabinet meeting this morning said the Abbey care home had only six of its 28 beds in use, and because most people were now cared for at home, would probably never be fully occupied again.

The report suggested the site could be used for local housing, some of which would provide extra care.

People from the community had put in a petition with 1,000 signatures, suggesting creating a trust to run the home with the county providing care for the residents, but cabinet members voted to go with the recommendations in the officers' report.

It has had money spent on it over the last few years but there are very narrow corridors, steps, very few ensuite rooms, and standards have changed."

Councillor Patricia Bellcabinet member for adult care

Hundreds of syringes found in dumped medical waste

Six black binliners full of clinical waste including hundreds of syringes have been found in a lay-by near Kendal.

Council official John Barwise with bucket of sharps

John Barwise from South Lakeland council said the bags were reported by a member of the public and found to contain eight of the tubs used in clinics and hospitals to collect hazardous waste.

He said the labels appeared to have been been scratched off so the source could not be identified.

The bags are thought to have been fly-tipped over the weekend in the lay-by on the A6 between Kendal and Selside.

To dump this sort of waste in a public place is highly irresponsible, illegal and potentially dangerous."

John Barwise

Cumbria's weather: Dry, sunny and chilly

BBC Weather

It should remain dry this afternoon with sunny spells and just the chance of the odd shower.

It will feel rather chilly with moderate to locally fresh northerly winds and highest temperatiures from 4C to 7C (39F to 45F).

Weather graphic

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

Coniston fire engine to find new service in Africa

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

A retired fire engine which has served the Coniston area for 20 years is on its way 3,000 miles to West Africa.

Councillor Janet Willis, from Dalton, the county council’s cabinet member for the fire and rescue service, said the 20-year-old appliance would be donated to the Kotu area in The Gambia, a major tourism resort.

Coniston watch manager Willy Watson arranged for the engine to be shipped over to The Gambia after visiting the local fire station while on holiday, and held a garden party to raise £1,000 towards the cost.

Willy Watson with fire engine
Cumbria County Council

They have a very old fire engine which keeps breaking down and the firefighters work in very spartan conditions and deal with a lot of house fires and well rescues, covering a very large area.”

Councillor Janet Willis

Travel: Winter arrives on highest roads

BBC News Travel

There's a risk of icy stretches in places and even snow on the highest roads, as this webcam shot from the Hartside Pass, on the A686 between Alston and Penrith, shows.

Webcam still of Hartside pass
Cumbria County Council

Congestion charge mooted at Lakes conference

A congestion charge for parts of the Lake District, like the one in London, has been discussed at a conference in Kendal into how to reduce the numbers of visitors using cars to get around the national park.

Soeaker with display showing congestion charge symbol

Nick Lancaster, of the Langdale Hotel, said that as long as the money was ringfenced to be spent in the area, it would be a great idea.

He said the Langdale Estates, a timeshare complex, ran bus services from Whitehaven, West Cumbria and Kendal to get staff to work.

And Robert McCracken QC suggested a congestion charge could be used to raise money for public transport.

If Cumbria had the same public transport funding per head as London, we’d have a budget of £14m to spend."

Julian WhittleCumbria Chamber of Commerce

Wildlife trust calls for action to save the insects

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is part of a national campaign calling for more to be done to save insects from extinction.

A report compiled in the south west of England suggests that drastic declines in the numbers of insects are now causing reductions in insect-eating birds, bats and fish.

White-faced darter

In Cumbria, the white-faced darter, which had lost its boggy habitats to the point where it was only found in one small area in north Cumbria, was introduced to the Cumbria trust's huge Foulshaw Moss reserve, where it is now thriving.

The trust is also calling for legislation enforcing targets for reducing pesticide use.

If insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse, with profound consequences for human wellbeing.”

Professor Dave GoulsonUniversity of Sussex and author of Insects and Why They Matter

Cumbria's weather: Dry and cold with clear spells

BBC Weather

There will be patchy cloud with isolated showers easing tonight, followed by dry and clear spells overnight.

Mist or fog may develop during ther early morning hours with lowest temperatures from -2C to 1C (28F to 34F).

Weather graphic

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

Jailed drink driver who fled police at 80mph loses appeal

A driver who clocked 80mph on a main Carlisle road while almost twice the drink-drive limit has lost his appeal against the jail term he was given.

An appeal hearing at Carlisle Crown Court heard that despite being ordered by an officer to stop, Anthony Robert Miller accelerated away and reached speeds of up to 80mph on Wigton Road, before braking violently and trying to reverse into the pursuing police vehicle.

Miller, 40, Dobinson Road, Carlisle, admitted a number of driving offences when he appeared before magistrates and was jailed for 120 days.

After hearing submissions from a solicitor who said it was early morning and no one was hurt, the appeal panel dismissed Miller’s appeal.

Cumbria's weather: A better chance of sunshine

BBC Weather

It will be cloudy at times and rather chilly but there will be a better chance of some sunny spells developing this afternoon.

Highest temperatures will be from 6C to 9C (43F to 48F).

Weather graphic

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

London service remembers Cumbrian broadcaster

The Cumbrian broadcaster John Myers is being remembered today in a gathering at St Martin in the Fields church on Trafalgar Square in London.

John Myers

John, who was born in Carlisle and became a leading figure in the industry, started his career with BBC Radio Cumbria but went on to found other radio stations and present on TV.

He died suddenly at the age of 60, in June.

The invitation to the memorial today says the dress code is "Larger than Life".

Orchestra plans Cumbrian tour to celebrate Beethoven

There'll be an opportunity to hear Beethoven symphonies performed live in Cumbria next year.

The Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform five concerts, most including two Beethoven symphonies, conducted by one of five leading young conductors from across Europe.

It's to mark 250 years since the composer's birth.

Getty Images

Self-harm charity warns it may run out of money

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

A charity that aims to help people in Cumbria likely to harm themselves says unless it gets more money it will have to fold.

Self-Harm Awareness for All was set up in Barrow, but has since grown to cover the whole county.

Now, it says that a lack of funds means it is having to withdraw from the north and west of Cumbria, and may have to close completely in two years.

Rod White has been the charity's chairman for six years but is about to stand down, and he says the existing services are not good enough.

People have to wait far too long, the service they get depends on how ill they are so in order to get treatment they have to be very ill, so they have to wait until they are that ill to get treatment."

Rod White

Cumbria's weather: Chilly with a few showers

BBC Weather

This morning will be cloudy at times and rather chilly with showers pushing southwards.

Highest temperatures will be from 6C to 9C (43F to 48F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

'Car free zones' on agenda at Lake District conference

Car free zones in the Lake District are among the ideas being debated at a conference in Kendal today.

Catbells Parking tow away zone sign
Friends of the Lake District

Friends of the Lake District says traffic has now reached levels where "business as usual is no longer possible", and it has brought together a number of organisations and experts to discuss how best to reduce congestion.

One area highlighted has been the Seathwaite valley, where cars parked by walkers heading for the fells around Borrowdale and Scafell Pike are said to have hampered emergency vehicles and farmers.

The Lake District National Park Authority published plans last year aimed at reducing the number of visitors arriving by car from 83% to 64% by 2040, and one of the speakers at the meeting, Ruth Bradshaw of the Campaign for National Parks, will explore ideas such as making electric bicycles more widely available.

But attempts to discourage car use in the past have often met opposition from the tourism industry.

Cumbria's weather: Breezy and chilly with showers

BBC Weather

Tonight will be breezy and chilly with large areas of cloud together with some showers.

There could be a few clearer spells in places through the second half of the night. Minimum Temperature: 0C to 3C (32F to 37F).

Weather graphic

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

Council 'rolls over' £125m loans in interest rates move

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Loans totalling £130m were taken out by Cumbria County Council over the past 18 months, including £5m of new borrowing, a meeting was told.

Councillor Peter Thornton, a Liberal Democrat member of the cabinet who is in charge of finance, says the refinancing was on the advice of external experts, and had saved £1.6m in repayments.

A report to councillors said the council's debts were refinanced while the interest rates set by the Public Works Loan Board were at a record low, before an increase in October, and officials had no plans to borrow again during the current financial year.

Sedbergh man jailed for eight years for child sex attack

A man from Sedbergh has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of a serious sexual assault on a child.

John Hosker
Cumbria Police

John Hosker, 37, of Birks Lane was convicted after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court but was sentenced at Durham.

Afterwards, Det Con Georgia Crowther of Cumbria Police said: "Hosker is a dangerous man who targeted a vulnerable young child."

Hosker must sign the sex offenders' register indefinitely, and was made subject to sexual harm prevention order.

Cumbria service is 'cutting youth re-offending'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

Fewer young offenders in Cumbria are commiting more crimes after serving their court sentences, a county council meeting was told.

Councillor Anne Burns, representing Hindpool for Labour, said reoffending rates have dropped from 41% to 38% in a year.

Councillor Burns, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The youth offending service is working hard to prevent young people offending and re-offending and is having a positive effect."

Liberal Democrat Cartmel councillor Sue Sanderson said the service had been recognised by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspectors as being "high quality and very effective".

Councillor Phil Dew, a Conservative representing Kirkby Stephen, said the work was having an impact with the figures on a downward trend.

Headmaster who groped teenage student is jailed

A retired headmaster convicted of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage girl while he was in charge of a south Cumbria school has been jailed.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that over the course of several months in the 1980s, Roger Whitehouse kissed and groped the 16-year-old girl over her clothing, often in his locked school study.

Roger Whitehouse

After a trial in which Whitehouse, now aged 79 and latterly of Seaview, Haverigg, denied allegations of indecent assault, he was acquitted by the jury of six charges, but found guilty of four.

Judge Nicholas Barker jailed Whitehouse for 32 months, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life.

It is clear to me in many ways you ran that school as something of a private fiefdom, free from proper scrutiny and therefore free to abuse (the female) in the way that you did."

Judge Nicholas Barker

Police hold three after Carlisle brawl

Police made three arrests after reports that several men, some armed with baseball bats, were fighting in Carlisle on Saturday night.

The brawl happened on Fusehill Street near the One Stop Shop, and the three were questioned on suspicion of affray.

Fusehill street

Cumbria's weather: Chilly and windy with showers

BBC Weather

It will be chilly this afternoon with further showers or longer spells of rain, perhaps with hail and sleet, and a small chance of thunder.

It could be very windy in places, and highest temperatures will be from 5C to 8C (41F to 46F).

Weather graphic

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

Driver dies in A66 collision with lorry

A driver died in a crash early this morning when his Ford Fiesta collided with a lorry outside the Stainmore Cafe on the A66.

The lorry driver, who is not from Cumbria, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Police have appealed for anyone who was in the area at the time of the collision, between 05:25 and 05:30 this morning, to come forward.

The site was the scene of another fatal crash in September 2016.

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy, showery, and becoming windy

BBC Weather

Today will be cloudy at times and quite chilly with showery outbreaks of rain and a few brighter interludes as well.

Brisk westerly winds will develop and highest temperatures will be from 5C to 8C (41F to 46F).

Weather graphic

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

Botchergate crash: Someone could have died, say police

Police say it was fortunate no one was killed in a crash in Botchergate in which a speeding teenage driver crashed into a taxi and then on to the pavement, knocking down a number of people outside a pub.

Crash scene

Today the driver, Owen Brown, who is now 19, was jailed for 29 months and banned from driving for 56 months.

Insp Steve Minnikin said: "This was a nasty collision which could easily have resulted in loss of life."

The driver of the taxi with which Brown collided was fined and given points on his licence, but Insp Minikin said the court had decided both men were responsible to different degrees.

Cumbria's weather: Dry, clear and frosty

BBC Weather

It will be mainly dry and clear tonight with light winds, leading to a cold feel with frost and freezing fog in places.

Lowest temperatures will be from -4C to -1C (25F to 30F)

Weather graphic

You can always get the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Robber who battered jeweller in Carlisle raid is jailed

A robber who punched a Carlisle jeweller in the face, breaking his nose, who then fled with a haul valued at £25,000, has been jailed for eight years by a Carlisle Crown Court judge.

Police outside jeweller's shop

Craig Carruthers, whose store had already been raided earlier in the year, battled with the masked man and shephered a member of staff to shelter.

The court heard Daniel Burtak and another man were arrested while later travelling south on the M6, and most of the jewellery was recovered, but two members of staff had since left because they kept having nightmares about the attack.

Burtak, 32, of no fixed address, was convicted of robbery after a trial, but Ashley Entwhistle, 36, of Athlone Avenue, Bolton, was found not guilty.

Man with 'baseball bat' in vandalism rampage

Police in Barrow are investigating after 13 vehicles and a home were damaged in the early hours of this morning.

Officers say they were called to the Vulcan Estate at about 03:00 and the damage included smashed windows.

Local people like Joe Quest say a man with an implement like a baseball bat went round attacking vehciles.

I've lived in that estate since 1978, I was thinking 'what's going on?' It's out of order.”

Joe Quest

Speeding driver in pavement crash is jailed and banned

A speeding teenage driver who crashed on to a pavement outside a pub in central Carlisle and left two people badly hurt has been jailed for more than two years.

Owen Brown, 19, of Dalston Road, Carlisle, was travelling down Botchergate at between 48mph and 54mph in his Ford Fiesta when he crashed into a taxi and veered into unsuspecting pedestrians outside the popular Border Rambler pub on 15 September last year.

Owen Luke Brown

Two friends standing outside the bar, Glenn O'Fee and Adam Bunting, sustained life-changing injuries, while Mr Bunting's partner was one of five other people also hurt.

Brown admitted causing serious injury to both Mr O'Fee and Mr Bunting by dangerous driving, and the 57-year-old taxi driver Stephen Reay, of Cumwhinton, near Carlisle, admitted careless driving.

Brown wept in the dock as he was given an immediate 29-month custodial sentence and banned from driving for 56 months.

Reay was fined £400 and given six penalty points.

It was an act of stupidity. There was no malice - simply a high level of folly and irresponsibility."

Paul TweddleSolicitor for Brown

Cumbria's weather: Cloud thickening with a shower possible

BBC Weather

Cloud may thicken during the afternoon from the east for a time to bring the odd shower, although a few sunny spells are still likely and it will continue to feel cool, with highest temperatures from 5C to 8C (41F to 46F).

Weather graphic

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

Councillors drop challenge to children's services shake-up

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Councillors have withdrawn a challenge to a county-wide shake-up of children’s services that will see a popular Copeland-based institution, Howgill, stripped of its contract and replaced by a London-based charity.

Three councillors who “called in” the original decision – Emma Williamson, Arthur Lamb and Keith Hitchen – have now agreed that the council had followed the “correct and legal process” and that there were “no grounds to revisit” it.

Children's services in Copeland, Carlisle, Allerdale and Barrow will be run from the beginning of January by Family Action, which is based in London.

Barnardo’s, previously responsible for Allerdale, Carlisle, South Lakes and Eden, has been left only with Eden and Action for Children, which previously had Barrow, will be offered the South Lakes’ contract.

Cumbria's country shows 'must adapt to survive'

Outdoor events such as Cumbria's country and agricultural shows must adapt to survive, according to the woman in charge of one of the most successful.

Westmorland county show
Getty Images

Christine Knipe was speaking after Lowther Estates announced that their show, which used to attract up to 30,000 people to see sights such as the Duke of Edinburgh competing in carriage driving events, would not take place in 2020.

The estate's directors say they will listen to offers to run the event in future, after the organisers, Countryman Shows, went into liquidation yesterday, but there has been little sign of optimism.

It's time to make sure you stay relevant, and it's also time to bring new people in through the gate."

Christine KnipeManaging director, Westmorland County Show

Cumbria's weather: Fine, dry and sunny

BBC Weather

You can expect it to be fine and dry through much of the morning with lengthy sunny spells, though feeling coo in the northerly breeze.

Highest temperatures will be from 5C to 8C (41F to 46F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Travel: Trains south through Cheshire hit by floods

BBC News Travel

Virgin Trains says services have been suspended Chester and Crewe due to flooding.

Anyone travelling to southern areas of Northern England by rail or road should check before starting the journey.