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'Grey to Green' project aims to transform Sheffield

Geoff Poyzer of NM Construction, Cllr Jayne Dunn, Cllr Leigh Bramall and Simon Ogden of Sheffield City Council

The first phase of a project to help regenerate the Riverside Business District and Castlegate area in Sheffield is about to get underway.

The scheme aims to enhance the environment and reduce the barriers between the Riverside Business District and Castlegate with the rest of the city centre and on to Kelham Island and Victoria Quays.

The 'Grey to Green' project will transform 1.3 kilometres of redundant road space, creating new public space with meadows, a sustainable drainage system and rain gardens. There will also be walking and cycling routes.

Shambles Market officially reopens after £1.6m renovation

Shambles Market, one of the few UK markets open seven days a week, has officially reopened following a £1.6 million refurbishment project.

Councillor Sonja Crisp cutting the ribbon to officially open Shambles Market with traders (left) Dave Maginnis and (right) Gordon David

We’re all really happy with our new-look market and are positive it will be a success. The work that has been done will really revitalise the market and we look forward to welcoming more customers to our new-look stalls.

– Paul Anderson, chair of the Market Traders' Association and a Shambles Market stallholder

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Government has 'failed to make convincing case' for HS2

The Government has yet to make a convincing case for spending £50 billion on HS2, according to a report out today.

The high speed rail network, linking the North to London, will be one of the most expensive infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. But the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee says the Government has failed to meet its two man objectives. Lord Hollick chairs the committee.

Shambles market reopens after £1.6m renovation

Shambles Market, one of the few UK markets open seven days a week, is reopening following the completion of a £1.6 million refurbishment project.

The market has undergone an extensive redevelopment to deliver improved facilities for traders and a better shopping experience for visitors. There are seven new trading kiosks and a new layout of stalls to make access to all areas of the market easier andmore attractive.

Transport package welcomed - but North still 'losing out' to South

The Northern Powerhouse package, revealed by transport ministers today, plans to revolutionise travel in the North of England.

There are plans for a third high speed rail network, or HS3, which include a new train route between Leeds and Hull which would cut journey times in half. The leader of Leeds City Council welcomed the proposal but said the north of England was still losing out to the south.

JJB Sports chief's son cleared of fraud

The West Yorkshire-based son of the former executive chairman of the now-defunct JJB Sports chain has been cleared of helping his father to use a forged bank statement, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has confirmed.

Stuart Jones (left) with his father Sir David Jones Credit: Press Association

Stuart Jones, 40, of Bingley, had been on trial at Leeds Crown Court charged with aiding and abetting Sir David Jones in his use of a false instrument.

According to the SFO, Mr Jones, who was the former head of marketing of JJB Sports, was found not guilty on Wednesday of one count of aiding and abetting the use of a false instrument, contrary to Section 3 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

A closed JJB Sports shop Credit: Press Association

The jury was told at the start of the trial that Sir David, who has Parkinson's, would not face trial due to his ill-health.

On Wednesday, the SFO said that Mr Jones gave evidence in the trial that he did not know the bank statement in question was a forgery but suggested that his father, amongst others, could have been responsible.

The case against his father involved loans he received while "heavily in debt" of £1.5 million each from Mike Ashley, owner of the Sports Direct chain, and Dave Whelan, the original founder of JJB Sports and owner of DW Sports.

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£2.2m secured for Dales economy

Farming and rural enterprises in the Yorkshire Dales are set to benefit from £2.2m in LEADER funding.

Sunset over Wensleydale Credit: Press Association

The aim of this funding, which comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and is managed by Defra, is to promote economic growth and generate new jobs across the region.

This is a unique opportunity for the rural businesses and communities in our area to benefit from investment in initiatives that other types of main stream “top-down” funding fails to reach.

This opportunity has only been possible through the amazing commitment and enthusiasm of local people and all our partner organisations.

Together we have identified the barriers we face as a rural area and successfully applied for LEADER status so that we might fund the innovative and collaborative solutions to them.”

– Rima Berry, LEADER Co-ordinator

The Yorkshire Dales Local Action Group (LAG) for LEADER consulted with people working and living in the rural areas of Richmondshire, Craven, Harrogate and Hambleton to identify opportunities to boost economic growth, create new jobs and to improve the quality of life in their communities.

The LAG will work closely with York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to make best use of the funding for rural development and to provide support for rural businesses.

The programme will open for applications towards the end of June 2015, but in the meantime Rima would like to hear from people with farming and rural enterprise projects that could utilise funding to promote economic growth and generate new jobs across the region.

Twitter campaign aims to boost fishing industry

Today marks the start of a week long twitter campaign to promote the UK's fishing industry.

Twitter campaign aims to boost fishing industry Credit: Press Association

The Catch of the Day hashtag is being used to help people use social media to share photos and videos of their work in the industry, from trawler to restaurant.

Organisers, the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations hope it will highlight the importance of sustainable fishing in the UK.

The idea behind #CatchofTheDay is to give individuals the opportunity to recognise the fishing industry and its contribution to UK life through one simple tweet. We hope it will be a fun way of getting across a serious message not only about the importance of the industry in providing a healthy, sustainable food source to a growing population, but also its inherent commitment to ensuring its future through sustainable methods.

– Tony Delahunty, Chairman of the NFFO

Small airports suffering due to aviation taxes, say MPs

Smaller UK airports are being held back by the existence of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) departure tax, a report by MPs has said.

Small airports in the UK are suffering as a result of airport passenger duty (APD), according to the Transport Committee. Credit: Press Association

The report focuses on smaller airports like Leeds Bradford, Doncaster's Robin Hood and Humberside Airport and says they are at risk of losing out on growth and business, especially if the tax was scrapped in Scotland.

On domestic flights where APD is charged at both ends of the trip, the tax "incentivises airlines and passengers to fly from airports located in other EU member states", said the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee. The MPs said that Northern Ireland was suffering in terms of jobs, growth and connectivity as aviation taxes were higher than in the Republic of Ireland.

The report warned that if APD is scrapped in Scotland - which is a possibility due to the tax being devolved to Holyrood - "airports in England would be subject to a similar competitive disadvantage to that currently experienced in Northern Ireland".<

Plans to exempt children from APD, announced in the autumn statement of 2014, was "a marginal change which did nothing for business travellers and little for smaller airports", the report added.<

The committee said: "We found that APD is the principal threat to the smaller airports sector.

"APD cannot be amended to support people, businesses and regional economies because of the operation of European competition law, while proposals to devolve it to the regions would serve only to spread a patchwork of market distortions across the UK."

Smaller airports drive economic growth. But the smaller airports sector - which is vital to people and businesses in the regions - is limited by APD. Transport ministers must stand up for smaller airports and make the case to the Treasury that APD squeezes jobs, growth and connectivity. The whole country should share the economic benefits of expanded airport capacity. But that will only happen if new capacity includes new domestic flights to airports outside London. The Department for Transport needs to take a proactive approach and ensure that the regions are connected.

– Committee chairwoman Louise Ellman

The report covered around 40 smaller airports ranging in size from Newcastle, which handled 4.4 million passengers in 2013, to Lydd in Kent which handled 1,000.

The past few years have been tough for many of our smaller members. Reducing APD is the single biggest thing that could enable airports to attract new routes and increase their passenger numbers. APD is the highest aviation tax in the world and is increasingly putting the UK at a disadvantage.

– Airport Operators Association chief executive Darren Caplan

Regional airports make a vital contribution to the UK economy by boosting local jobs and providing important domestic and international connectivity. We want to help these airports thrive as part of our long- term economic plan, which is why we launched the Regional Air Connectivity Fund to support more new air routes. We are now assessing bids from airports and airlines for this funding and will soon announce a short list of routes, with a final announcement over the summer. We welcome the publication of the committee's report on smaller airports and we will study their conclusions carefully before responding in due course

– Department for Transport spokesman
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