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Man completes Newcastle to Kielder River Tyne swim challenge
Fenwick Mark Ridley was granted special permission to complete his challenge at Kielder Water.

Have your say on the A69 upgrade

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

People interested in finding out more about a major upgrade of the A69 will be able to see the plans at an information session in Northumberland today.

Work is due to start on the multimillion-pound project at Bridge End roundabout in October.

Temporary changes to the road layout will be put in place while the new section is created under the roundabout.

Anyone wanting to ask questions about the scheme can chat to Highways England at Hexham Community Centre between 12:00 and 17:00.

Northumberland school exclusions fall

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

The number of school exclusions in Northumberland has dropped from a spike last year as work continues to tackle the issue.

Last November, we reported that pupils were permanently kicked out of schools in the county at an average rate of one a day during the first half-term of that academic year.

Over the previous three years, permanent exclusions had increased by 203% and fixed-term exclusions by 209%, but the trend has reversed since then.

The issue was discussed again at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s cabinet where members agreed to proceed with a tender exercise to create a framework to support the provision of alternative education for permanently excluded children.

Exclusions have been of concern to the family and children's services committee for some time and a task and finish group has been looking at the issue, while the council has also spoken to headteachers in an effort to share good practice.

Since this has been taking place, the number of permanent exclusions in Northumberland has reduced by 28% and the number of fixed-term exclusions by 26%.

Berwick leisure centre given go-ahead by planners

Berwick's new leisure centre is a step closer after planning permission was granted by Northumberland County Council.

The £20m facility, which is being funded by the local authority, will replace the Swan Centre in Tweedmouth. It will be run by Active Northumberland, the charitable trust that manages leisure services across the county.

Work is due to start in November with phase one, which includes a new swimming pool and fitness suite, set to open in April 2021. The full building is expected to be open in summer 2022.

Artist's impression of the new leisure centre at Berwick
Northumberland County Council

Lucy Bronze among Best Fifa Football Awards finalists

Northumberland-born England and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze has been named as a finalist in the Best Fifa Football Awards.

She is one of three in the women's player category along with the USA's Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony in Milan on 23 September.

Bronze (pictured below in the World Cup third place play-off against Sweden) was last week named Uefa's female player of the year.

Lucy Bronze in action against Sweden

Inpatient beds to return to Northumbria hospital

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

Inpatient beds are to return to Rothbury Community Hospital after nearly three years.

Local health managers initially said the beds were underused, and they were closed in September 2016. But the decision was referred to the-then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and an independent reconfiguration panel.

Today at an extraordinary meeting of the Northumberland CCG governing body it was announced inpatient beds will return to Rothbury Hospital under a flexible system where the number of beds will depend on clinical need.

Managers say it’s never been tried before in the NHS.

Cyclist killed in crash with farming machinery

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A cyclist was killed in a crash with a combine harvester shortly before 13:00 yesterday.

The 77-year-old cyclist had been travelling through the village of Ogle, Northumberland, when he was involved in a collision with the machine.

Emergency services attended the scene but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is devastating for the family of the cyclist and we have specially-trained family liaison officers supporting them. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was driving near Ogle at the time of the collision to review any dashcam footage they may have.”

Sgt Ray LoweryNorthumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department

Five people, including children, injured in tractor crash

Two adults and three children were seriously injured when a car collided with a tractor and a hay bale trailer in Northumberland.

The crash happened on the A1 southbound carriageway at Shilbottle, near Alnwick, on Monday.

Five occupants of the car, aged 64, 57, eight, nine and two, were taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

A stretch of the road was closed for about six hours, causing long traffic tailbacks.

Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses to the collision at about 14:50 BST.

Traffic tailbacks on A1

A1 crash causes Bank Holiday traffic disruption

A stretch of the A1 in Northumberland was closed on Monday afternoon following a multi-vehicle crash.

The collision, reported to involve four vehicles and a tractor, happened south of Alnwick at about 14:45 BST.

For a time, it was closed in both directions between the A1068 and A697 junctions.

The road did not fully reopen until 21:00 BST.

Queueing traffic on A1
Queueing traffic on A1

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland both ways severe accident, from Fulbeck to Fulbeck.

A1 Northumberland - A1 closed and queues in both directions from the Fulbeck junction in Alnwick to the Fulbeck junction, because of a serious accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland both ways severe accident, from A1068 to A697.

A1 Northumberland - A1 closed and it's slow in both directions from Alnwick South Junction in Alnwick to Longhorsley Turn Off in Northumberland, because of a serious accident involving a car and a tractor.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Man charged over A69 fatal collision

A 31-year-old man has been charged after a woman died and another was seriously injured in a two-car crash on the A69 near Haydon Bridge on Tuesday.

Viorel Grancea, of Darnley Street, Glasgow, has been charged with death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and causing death while unlicenced, disqualified or uninsured.

Plan to build £16m underground reservoir

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Herbert Soden

Plans for a £16m underground reservoir that would supply water to 50,000 people have been revealed.

Northumbrian Water has applied for planning permission for a new covered service reservoir, capable of storing more than 62 million litres of water, near Springwell Village.

The water company’s planning consultants Lichfields submitted applications for the scheme to Sunderland and Gateshead councils earlier this month.

Michael Baker, Northumbrian Water’s tactical planning manager, said: "The area which will be fed by this new service reservoir includes Springwell, as well as the wider Wearside and South Tyneside areas.

"The service reservoir, which will consist of two reinforced concrete compartments would be covered with grass to fit in with the local environment, will help to ensure a resilient water supply for the area, strengthening the existing network in the area. “

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%).

Dalek not least not for now

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

Northumberland councillors have overruled planning officers to approve a Dalek enclosure outside a sci-fi museum in Northumberland.

The wooden shed outside the Museum Of Modern Science Fiction In Allendale houses a full size Dalek.

Planning officers had recommended refusing the application because of the “harm” the Dalek caused in a conservation area.

But Northumberland County Council's Tynedale local area planning committee voted to allow the Dalek enclosure on a temporary basis for a year.

Museum owner Neil Cole says he’s pleased at the decision but still plans to appeal to the national planning inspectorate.

He believes a year does not give him enough time to replace the Dalek’s shed with a permanent stone structure

Dalek outside the museum in Allendale
PA Media

Planning rule extermination fears over sci-fi museum

A family-run sci-fi museum in a Northumberland town will discover its future later today.

The owners of Allendale's Museum of Classic Sci-Fi have been ordered to remove a shed from the front which houses a replica Dalek.

Northumberland County Council said it did not fit in with the character of the Grade II-listed property, and broke planning laws.

However owners Neil and Lisa Cole say the Dalek cannot be stored in their cellar alongside the other exhibits which include further Doctor Who items and props and costumes from the Marvel movie universe.

If it had to be got rid of then the fate of the museum would be "unknown" they said, so they have applied for retrospective planning permission.

Dalek outside museum
PA Media

Northumberland flash flooding: Fire crews continue to pump out water

Fire crews have been pumping out and diverting water in west Northumberland overnight.

Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service says pumps are still deployed in Haydon Bridge and near the Military Road.

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View more on twitter

Northumberland flash flooding: clean-up continues

The clean-up operation continues at homes and businesses in part of Northumberland after flooding caused problems over the weekend.

On Sunday about 30 homes in the Otterburn area were flooded, while many roads were left impassable.

One clothes shop said it had lost £50,000 worth of stock after the village was hit in the early hours.

All flood warnings for the North East have been stood down, but a number of alerts remain in place, meaning flooding is possible.

People living next to rivers in north Northumberland, Ouseburn, River North Tyne, Upper River Coquet and Rivers Pont and Blyth are being urged to be prepared.

Thropton, Northumberland

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland southbound

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland southbound severe accident, near A1068.

A1 Northumberland - A1 in Alnwick blocked and queues southbound near Alnwick South Junction, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Rain and thunder spell busy night for firefighters

The rain and thunder wasn't as bad as predicted, but it still kept the emergency services busy!

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Haydon Bridge to close for a month

Haydon Bridge's "New Bridge" will be closed for a month

Haydon Bridge's "New Bridge" will be closed between 5 August and 8 September as improvements works are carried out on the crossing.

The expansion joints on the bridge will be replaced and the road and footpaths will be resurfaced.

Vehicles will be diverted via the A69.

Dozens of dolphins spotted off North East coastline

Volunteers have been keeping an eye on the North East coastline this week as part of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch event.

Throughout the week, sightings of dozens of dolphins have been reported to the Sea Watch Foundation.

Sixty-six Bottlenose dolphins were spotted at Whitburn Bird Observatory between 27 and 30 July.

A further 25 dolphins were seen at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland on Tuesday.

More sightings were recorded at Roker Pier and Berwick as well.

A dolphin
Getty Images

North East weather: Cloudy start but sun and showers to follow

It will be a largely dry and cloudy morning, but as the afternoon progresses there will be more in the way of sunny spells and the growing chance of scattered showers.

Any lingering showers should clear away through this evening.

After midnight it should essentially remain dry under mostly cloudy skies.

North East weather forecast, Thursday 1 August 2019

1.2 million government-funded trees planted in Northumberland in eight years

There have been 1.2 million government-funded trees planted in Northumberland between 2010 and 2018, Forestry Commission data shows.

This works out at 3,888 trees per 1,000 people.

Between 2010 and 2018 the government funded about 15 million trees in England. Figures for trees planted with private funds or by local councils are not included and the data only covers new trees, not replacements for any that were cut down.

Overall tree planting rates across the UK would need to more than double to combat rising temperatures and climate change, according to official figures.

Last year 13,400 hectares of new trees were planted across the UK, most of them in Scotland, but the Committee on Climate Change says this should rise to at least 30,000 hectares a year.

Campaign group The Woodland Trust said more trees were needed to provide summer shade, reduce air pollution, improve water quality and manage flooding.

The government said it had made it "much easier" to apply for planting grants.

Find out about tree planting across the UK here.

This story has been generated using Forestry Commission data, BBC analysis and some automation.

Shear dedication

Applause for John the Northumberland sheep shearer working up a sweat to cool down the sheep

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Take care if you're out and about in the heatwave today

Temperatures are predicted to top 25C in the region today and perhaps 30C tomorrow.

Take care as doctors and safety experts are warning people to take car in the sun especially if you're not used to it.

Take safety precautions especially if you'll be near water.

BBC Look North will be out and about in the region to see you lapping up the sunshine and to talk to the people who look out for us while we do.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland southbound

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland southbound severe accident, between A1068 and A697.

A1 Northumberland - A1 blocked and it's slow southbound between Alnwick South Junction and Longhorsley Turn Off, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Fire crew release wedged dog

This Belgian Shepherd was trapped under a caravan in Northumberland, and airbags were used to release her.

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Brigades in bid to prevent deliberate fires

Nisha Joshi

BBC broadcast journalist

Three of the region's fire services have joined together to launch a campaign to prevent deliberate fires throughout the North East, where call-outs are more than double the national average.

The Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear brigades have launched their Fire Stoppers service, which aims to prevent serious fires which, they say, are placing additional stress on the emergency services.

An anonymous hotline has been set up, together with an online form for reporting arson. The fire authorities say any reports will be treated confidentially.

Train lines reopen after overhead powerline damage

Northern Rail is reporting all lines between Newcastle and Durham are now reopened after earlier problems with damaged overhead power lines.

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Rail services hit by power line damage

Rail passengers are being warned of significant delays and cancellations after damage to overhead power lines near Darlington.

The problems are affecting all operators, including LNER, which has already cancelled several services to and from London on the East Coast Main Line.

Some Scotland bound services are also terminating at Darlington or Newcastle.

Cross Country, Transpennine and Northern services are also affected.

Travellers are urged to check services before setting out on journeys.

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View more on twitter