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Plans to boost commerce in Dorset

Ian Girling, DCCI's Chief Executive and Dorchester president Steve Bulley Credit: DCCI

Moves to create a pan-Dorset network of chambers of commerce to fight the county's corner have been boosted by a new member.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has been leading the drive to unite business groups to give them a stronger voice locally, regionally and nationally.

Now DCCI has welcomed Dorchester Chamber of Commerce as the third town chamber to become affiliated - following hot on the heels of Broadstone and Weymouth and Portland.

The partnership aim to bring together business groups in the area to give them a stronger voice locally, regionally and nationally.

The network of chambers can be far stronger and far more cohesive than it has been. DCCI has the opportunity and the responsibility to start to bring chambers together for the whole of the county.

– DCCI chief executive Ian Girling

Owners come to terms with huge loss after secretary steals thousands from family business

The wedding industry's in full swing...bringing a massive ten billion pounds to the British economy every year. But it can be a precarious business - as one Berkshire couple found out when an employee stole more than ninety thousand pounds.

Joanne Jordan - who was the secretary for the wedding venue the Old Mill in Aldermaston has been jailed for her crime. But the owners say as the wedding season gets underway they're still coming to terms with their huge loss as Mel Bloor reports.

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Owners speak of devastation at how secretary stole thousands from family business

Secretary at the Old Mill wedding venue in Aldermaston stole nearly £90,000 from owners of the venue.

Joanne Jordan was jailed for two years Credit: Thames Valley Police

The owners of the Old Mill, Robin and Diane Arlott, say they were devastated at how their secretary was stealing from their business.

Between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground

UKOG has a 30% direct interest in operator Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL) and a 1.32% interest via its holdings in another company, Angus Energy. HHDL owns a 65% interest in the licence for the well.

In a statement, UKOG said that in order to establish estimates of total oil in place within the licence area, the "semi-regional resource potential of the Weald Basin's eastern footprint is the subject of ongoing analysis".

Based on what we've found here, we're looking at between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground.

We believe we can recover between 5% and 15% of the oil in the ground, which by 2030 could mean that we produce 10% to 30% of the UK's oil demand from within the Weald area.

– Mr Sanderson

David Lenigas told Sky News the discovery would mean "many thousands" of jobs. It has previously been estimated that the Weald Basin holds 4.4 billion barrels.

The figures compare with offshore oil and gas production, primarily from the North Sea, which has seen 43 billion barrels extracted to date, according to the latest estimate from Oil & Gas UK, the trade body for the offshore sector.

It estimates that between 12 billion and 23 billion barrels are left.

To gleefully rub your hands at a new fossil fuel discovery you need to turn the clock back to the 19th century and ignore everything we have learnt about climate change since.

We already have more than enough coal, oil and gas reserves to fry the planet. Dotting the English countryside with drilling rigs and pipelines to squeeze the last drop of oil out of Britain doesn't make any sense.

It's time we uncoupled our economy from the dangerous rollercoaster of fossil fuels and invested in the clean technologies that can provide safe and cheap energy for decades to come.

– Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr

The prospect of dirty oil extraction in southern England will greatly alarm local communities and put fracking firmly on the region's election agenda.

Any firm proposing to drill for oil in the region knows it will face huge opposition - as happened at Balcombe, Fernhurst and Wisborough Green. Drilling proposals in Sussex have already been turned down.

The next government must end our reliance on climate-changing fossil fuels and invest in real solutions to the energy challenges we face, such as renewable power and energy efficiency.

– Friends of the Earth South East campaigner Brenda Pollack

"World class potential resource" of oil near Gatwick

An exploration firm has announced the discovery of billions of barrels of oil reserves at a site near Gatwick airport.

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said drilling of the 55-square mile site at the Weald Basin had discovered 158 million barrels per square mile. Chief executive Stephen Sanderson said the Horse Hill-1 well required appraisal and testing to prove its commercial viability but that it had "the potential for significant daily oil production".

Together with another discovery, Portland Sandstone, it was a "possible world class potential resource". Mr Sanderson told the BBC: "We think we've found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest (onshore in the UK) in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance."

Similar wells in the US had seen "estimated recovery factors" of between 3% and 15% of the oil in place, he added.

He said: "Drilling the deepest well in the basin in 30 years, together with the = ability to use concepts, techniques and technology unavailable in the 1980s, has provided new cutting-edge data and interpretations to comprehensively change the understanding of the area's potential oil resources."

UKOG has an interest of just over a fifth in the Horse Hill site. Shares in the company initially more than quadrupled in value on the announcement.

Oxfordshire landfill site stops taking waste after 35 years

Viridor Ardley landfill stops taking waste after 35 years Credit: Viridor Ardley

Viridor has announced that after 35 years of service its Ardley landfill site is no longer taking non-hazardous waste.

Non-hazardous waste will now be taken into Viridor’s adjacent state of the art Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) marking the end of an era. The £205 million facility has capacity to treat 300,000 tonnes of waste per year, sufficient to treat all of Oxfordshire’s residual municipal waste. The waste will be transformed into 26 megawatts of electricity, generating enough electricity for about 38,000 homes.

The Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC), which Viridor operates on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council, will remain open for local residents to use and is not affected by the closure of Ardley landfill.

Ardley landfill has been an important part of the waste infrastructure in this region for many years. But it’s time to recognise that we should be looking at our non-recyclable waste as a resource that can be put to use. The closure of the landfill is an important milestone in the ongoing efforts to drive value from our waste hierarchy. Using residual waste to generate electricity is ensuring we’re maximising every available opportunity and will see Oxfordshire further reduce its carbon footprint.

– Henry Austin, Area Unit Manager for Viridor

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Firm makes major Gatwick oil find

An oil rig in the North Sea Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

An exploration firm has announced the discovery of billions of barrels of oil reserves at a site near Gatwick airport.

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said drilling of the 55-square mile site at the Weald Basin had discovered 158 million barrels per square mile. Chief executive Stephen Sanderson said the Horse Hill-1 well required appraisal and testing to prove its commercial viability but that it had "the potential for significant daily oil production".

Woman finds dead lizard on jacket she bought in Asda

A dead gecko was found squashed into this coat Credit: Paula Dunican

A woman from Canterbury was horrified to find a very dead, very squashed gecko inside a jacket she bought at Asda.

The £25 garment had a "seeping stain" in the lining which Paula Dunican discovered in the lining when she got it home.

The stain turned out to be the decaying body of the unfortunate animal.

Geckos are a type of lizard, usually found in warm climates.

Asda has offered Mrs Dunican a refund and a £40 voucher. They told ITV Meridian: “We’d like to apologise again to Mrs Dunican for any upset caused, and reassure her this was an isolated incident.”

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Bright future for solar investment?

The owners of a solar farm in Kent are offering local people the chance to invest in the scheme. It's an attempt to win round sceptics in Paddock Wood who might otherwise not be so keen on the idea of thousands of solar panels in a nearby field. But some in the area are still unconvinced including the town council.

David Johns reports, speaking to Solar Project Manager Mike Rogers, and Paddock Wood Town Councillor Sarah Hamilton.

David Cameron talks pension plans at village BBQ

David Cameron has been enjoying a barbecue in Dorset today - but he wasn't relaxing from the campaign trail.

He met constituents at Lytchett Matravers where topics on conversation included the new pension plans which came into force today. The tories are targetting the Mid Dorset and North Poole seat, currently held by the Liberal Democrats with a majority of just 269 votes.

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