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Multiple vehicles in serious accident on M6 Northbound

Multiple vehicles were involved in the incident Credit: Walsall Fire Service

Firefighters have released photos of a serious multi vehicle incident on the M6 Northbound at Junction 10 A454 / B4464 (Wolverhampton / Walsall). Cutting equipment was used on the scene to assist those involved.

Traffic is now easing and the exit slip road has re-opened.

Picture from the scene of the accident Credit: Walsall Fire Station

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Poll: are employees entitled to a smoking break?

Nottinghamshire County Council say the move has been taken to improve the health of employees and reduce time off work. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Nottinghamshire County Council have announced plans for a ban on employees taking smoking breaks during work time.

We ask do workers have a right to take a break for a cigarette?

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Nottinghamshire County Council: Plans to ban cigarette breaks part of 'duty of care'

Employees could be banned from taking smoking breaks Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Nottinghamshire County Council has insisted plans to ban smoking breaks are part of its desire to be a 'supportive employer' and that they have a 'duty of care' to the people that work for them.

Here is their full statement:

“Smoking is still public health’s number one enemy. Nottinghamshire County Council, along with a number of other partners, has signed the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Tobacco Declaration that commits us to take action against tobacco which in turn improves the health of our staff."

“We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire."

“If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to. With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services. If they don’t want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

"We want to support staff by encouraging them to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy at work. The cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy is cheaper than cigarettes so we are not asking staff to spend more money than usual."

“National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems."

“Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers.”

– Nottinghamshire County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health John Tomlinson

Police respond to claims criminals are escaping because of 'sirenless' cars

West Midlands Police have responded to claims made yesterday that the use of Vauxhall Corsa cars to deal with emergency calls means criminals are more likely to escape.

Without sirens, a vehicle is not able to break speed limits or jump traffic lights even if in pursuit of a criminal.

Responding on Twitter, West Midlands Police revealed precisely how many emergency calls the Corsa vehicles responsed to - and also included a loud demonstration of sirens on other police vehicle.

Read more on this story here.

Two arrested in Birmingham over Syria terror offences

Two people have been arrested in Birmingham today on suspicion of terrorism offences relating to Syria.

They were detained at an address in Sparkbrook by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit around 7.30am this morning.

They are a 38-year-old man and 31-year-old woman who have been arrested on suspicion of preparation for Acts of Terrorism.

The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led and police have confirmed that there was no immediate threat to public safety.

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Derby County Chairman becomes club's sole owner

Mel Morris is now the club's sole owner Credit: Simon Cooper/EMPICS Sport

Derby County Chairman Mel Morris has successfully bought the club from its owners, North American Derby Partners LLP, for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Morris, a life-long Rams fan and a highly successful businessman, re-invested in the club in May last year to take a 22% holding following the disappointment of the play off final against QPR.

He is now the club's sole owner.

“Whilst I firmly believe that the club’s ownership is very much a tertiary concern tob most fans, I hope together we can help steer this club back into a sustainable place in the Premier League. We have many of the key components in place, but I am conscious that we must all commit our total support in pursuit of this goal, which I know is shared by all of us, as fans of this great football club.” “I wish to pay tribute to the North American Ownership group, who collectively provided the finance and leadership stability the club needed following the traumatic times which followed the 2007/8 season in the Premier League. They have been terrific to work with, and I am sure they will continue to follow the Rams well into the future"

– Mel Morris, Derby County FC Chairman

No changes are planned in the club’s executive team who will continue to be managed by Sam Rush as Chief Executive Officer. A new board of directors is set to be announced.

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Council considers employee smoking break ban

Smoking breaks will be banned for thousands of council employees under new proposals.

Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing a total smoking ban for staff

Nottinghamshire County Council has said its 9,000 employees will be barred from smoking during work time with the ban extending to e-cigarettes, in the mooted plans.

Anyone who fails to stick to the rules could face internal disciplinary action.

The local authority said the ban, to include all council buildings, land and vehicles, was aimed at boosting its workers' health, increasing time spent working and reducing levels of sick leave.

But the largest public sector union Unison has said the stringent rules will be unenforceable and has urged the council to support smokers in quitting rather than haul wayward employees into disciplinary meetings.

The council's deputy director of public health John Tomlinson said smoking was still "public health's number one enemy" and the local authority had committed itself to action.

"We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire.

"If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to.

"With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services.

"If they don't want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

– John Tomlinson, Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has said it will encourage staff to use alternatives like nicotine patches to kick their habit, arguing the cost to its staff would be cheaper than a packet of cigarettes.

"National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems.

"Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers."

– John Tomlinson Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has about 9,000 employees across all its departments, excluding teachers.

Employees get a short morning and afternoon break, but no smoking will be allowed during these periods under any ban.

Smoking will be allowed during lunch breaks but not in uniform or anywhere near council property, according to the union, Unison.

"We're supportive of public health and we haven't got a stance on this, but we are balloting members asking whether they would be for or against.

"I don't see yet how they could enforce it. Say you work in highways, if you want to smoke, you need to take all your uniform off and go as far away from site as possible and have a cigarette and then come back.

"You're not going to be able to smoke in your uniform, or if you're standing outside your council workplace or are wearing a council badge or lanyard.

"If you're in the parks department, you won't be able to - even when you're outside.

"If anybody goes out on council business and drives their own car, they won't be able to smoke."

– Brian Fitzpatrick, Unison services conditions officer

Unions will discuss the proposals with the council in the autumn, with the ban expected to come into force early next year.

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