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Fracking regime 'robust', government insists

The Department of Energy and Climate Change, situated on Whitehall in Westminster. Credit: Press Association.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We disagree with the conclusion of this report. We have one of the most robust regulatory regimes for shale gas.

"UK shale development is compatible with our goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and does not detract from our support for renewables; in fact it could support development of intermittent renewables.

"To meet our challenging climate targets we will need significant quantities of renewables, nuclear and gas in our energy mix. Shale gas has huge potential to create jobs and make us less reliant on imports."

Clare Wood's father - 'She would be proud'

MIchael Brown, the father of Clare Wood. Credit: Press Association.

Clare Wood's father said his murdered daughter would spur him on if she was able to witness the campaigning he has done to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Michael Brown, 71, said his work to bring about changes to legislation to protect women from domestic abuse has helped him deal with the grief felt over his daughter's death.

Mr Brown, a retired prison officer, said more could still be done to protect women from abusive men, including improved use of the police national computer to identify potential abusers.

In the wake of his daughter's death, he lobbied for the Government to enact what would become Clare's Law, which allows the police to disclose information about a partner's previous history of domestic violence or violent acts.

"I've never gone into this for personal glory. I was dragged into this kicking and screaming, had it not been for the fact that my daughter ended up with an untimely end. I'm sure if she's watching she'll say 'good for you Dad, get on'.

"It gave me something to vent my anger on. It was the last thing I expected in my life."

– Michael Brown

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Calls to halt all fracking in Britain

A fracking site in the Lancashire countryside. Credit: Press Association.

There are calls for North West MPs to support a vote for a moratorium on fracking across Britain. It comes on the day parliament has the chance to vote on legislation. Campaigners want it delayed for at least 2 and a half years whilst the risks are assessed.

The Environmental Audit Committee, appointed by the House of Commons have today published a report into the risks of the controversial technique. It claims; 'The necessary regulatory arrangements must be determined and put in place before any further expansion of the industry.'

“Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely. There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health.”

“We cannot allow Britain’s national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields. Even if a national moratorium on shale drilling in the UK is not accepted there should be an outright ban on fracking in such special sites.”

– Committee Chair Joan Walley MP

Last week a key Lancashire County Council report said it should not go ahead in Little Plumpton and Rosacre.

Click here to read more on that story.

Profile of Stockport - and the world's - first female Anglican bishop

Libby Lane has many links to Stockport and the North West. Credit: Press Association.

Libby Lane has been the Vicar of St Peter's Hale and St Elizabeth's Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester, since April 2007, and from January 2010 has also been Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese.

After school in Manchester and University at Oxford, she trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham.

She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn.

Prior to moving to Hale, Libby was Team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team, and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Chester, advising and supporting those considering a vocation to ministry in the church. She continues to be a Bishop's Selection Advisor.

Libby has served in the Diocese of York, as Chaplain in hospital and further education, and as Family Life Officer for the Committee for Social Responsibility in the Diocese of Chester.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.

Libby Lane with her husband, George.

Libby's husband, George, is also a priest; they were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together.

George is Coordinating Chaplain at Manchester Airport, licensed in the Diocese of Manchester.

They have two grown up children who are currently studying in higher education.

Her interests include being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords.

Search to resume for missing windsurfer

Glasson Dock

A huge search operation will resume this morning for a windsurfer who disappeared near Lancaster.

Police were called to Glasson dock yesterday afternoon to reports a man in his 50's had gone out with a group of friends but not returned. A number of lifeboats searched in foggy conditions until around 2am this morning.

The lifeboat, mountain rescue and a police helicopter will carry on the search from 8am this morning.

Centres aim to offer more support for the victims of hate crime

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter.

Victims of hate crime in Greater Manchester can now report incidents against them Affleck's Palace and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.

They're among twenty nine places where staff have been specially trained to help those targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Affleck's, a shopping arcade in Manchester's Northern Quarter, is well known among fans of music sub-culture. The LGF, on Richmond Street close to Canal Street, represents the city's LGBT community.

A total of 29 organisations across the city have now agreed to meet a set of standards drawn up by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police, stating they must provide staff with ongoing training about hate crime, provide a safe and confidential environment for people to report incidents, and advise victims about other services available.

Managers of these centres have been praised for their work in encouraging victims of hate crime to come forward.

Meanwhile, dozens of residents' groups across the city will hold events throughout Hate Crime Awareness Week to help their neighbours understand the issue.

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation on Richmond Street in Manchester.

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Clare's Law shows scale of domestic violence problem

Clare Wood, from Salford, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009.

The abusive pasts of more than 1,300 violent partners have been revealed since the introduction of Clare's Law.

The legislation, named after Clare Wood from Salford, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, allows the police to disclose information about a partner's previous history of domestic violence or violent acts.

Using Freedom of Information laws, the Press Association discovered at least 1,335 disclosures have been made across England and Wales under the law following 3,760 applications for disclosure.

But the figures show there are variations between police forces and now Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears, who campaigned with Miss Wood's father Michael Brown to introduce the scheme, said she would write to the Home Secretary to ask what is being done to ensure best practice.

Ms Blears said: "The fact there have been almost 4,000 applications shows just how serious a problem domestic violence is in this country and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.

"More than a third of those who have made an application have received information which empowers them to make a potentially life-changing - or even life-saving - decision to end a relationship. So it is clear the scheme has been of great assistance to hundreds of people already.

"What these figures show, however, is that the likelihood of a disclosure being made varies enormously across the country, so while here in Greater Manchester it happens in more than 60% of cases, in Merseyside the figure is just 11%.

"This suggests Clare's Law is being applied in different ways by police forces. I will be writing to the Home Secretary to ask what is being done to review its use and ensure best practice is shared across the country and the right decisions are made."

Historic moment as Stockport's Bishop Libby Lane takes office

Rev Libby Lane will become Bishop of Stockport today. Credit: Press Association.

The new Bishop of Stockport, Rev Libby Lane, will become the first woman to take the office in the Church of England today.

There will be a special consecration ceremony for Rev Lane at York minster.

Her appointment was announced just one month after Anglican leaders voted in favour of women Bishops.

It is an unexpected joy...it's a remarkable day for me and I realise an historic day for the church."

– Libby Lane, The Bishop of Stockport speaking in December
  • Click here to read more about Rev Libby Lane's nomination to become Bishop of Stockport.

70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

The barbed wired fence and watch towers of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp stand covered in mist in Oswiecim, Poland

It's exactly seventy years this week since surviving prisoners walked to freedom from the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Millions of Jews perished in the gas chambers, others died from illness and starvation.

Tonight in the first of a series of special features on Granada Reports we hear from Holocaust survivors who've made the North West their home.

Here's a small taster:-

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