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Kent in Crisis: Could MoD land free up the M20?

British troops could join efforts to ease traffic congestion in Kent as the migrant crisis shows no sign of abating.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is understood to be in the early stages of developing plans which could involve using land owned by the department to free up space on the M20.

Police try to stop migrants at Calais Credit: PA Images

The Daily Telegraph said MoD land around Folkestone could be used as a temporary lorry parks.

The source said a decision on the plans would be "taken in due course", adding they were led by the civilian authorities rather than military.

David Cameron, who has returned to the UK after a four-day tour of south-east Asia, is in the Government's emergency Cobra committee this morning.

It is understood he will ask ministers and officials to see whether more can be done to address the situation at the port and the Channel Tunnel railhead at Coquelles.

Kent in crisis: Lorries queue up on the M20 Credit: ITV News

The meeting comes after Mr Cameron blamed the chaos at Calais on a "swarm" of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and travelling through Europe.

French security and police were again dispatched to prevent desperate migrants from gaining illegal access to the Channel Tunnel following a week of unrest in Calais.

The situation in Calais has threatened to bring the cross-Channel haulage industry to a halt, with long queues at border control points in England and France.

As the situation rumbled into a fourth night of disorder, up to a hundred migrants roared as they steamed through police lines at a petrol station near the terminal to gain access to the tunnel.

French gendarmes and riot police at first were overwhelmed by the numbers coming at them but were able to gain control of the situation.

Officers, some with their batons drawn, formed a cordon backed up by riot vans.

But they could not prevent the men, women and children, mainly from East African and Arab countries, from bringing the road out of the tunnel in Coquelles to a standstill.

They watched as three or four teenage migrants climbed over a fence but later came back when they realised they had hit a dead end.

Afterwards Eurotunnel said its French platform was unavailable due to "security reasons".

A spokesman said: "Due to overnight activity around our French terminal, timetables are disrupted from both directions."

Another night of drama in Calais has increased fears the UK's already under-pressure social services will be pushed to breaking point as the number of asylum seekers increases.

Eastbourne Pier fire one year on

A year ago today, Eastbourne Pier was engulfed in flames. We still don't know why the fire happened - but ever since efforts to rebuild it have continued apace. Traders are relieved that they're back in business again, but is the long term future of the pier secure? Andrea Thomas has been speaking to trader James Gallagher, Tim Cobb from the Chamber of Commerce and Councillor David Tutt.

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Five hundred jobs to go at Aldermaston

The Atomic Weapons Establishment is planning 500 job losses Credit: ITV

The Atomic Weapons Establishment is planning 500 job losses.

The company issued a statement a short time ago: "The changes will maintain and enhance the core stockpile, production and capital investment projects with safety, security and quality remaining central to all our operations. These focus on improving and streamlining ways of working, investing in the capability of our people whilst reshaping and rebalancing our resources with all roles contributing directly to programme delivery.

"While the company is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, a reduction of roles in some areas and an increase in others is required to ensure long-term efficiencies while meeting overall programme requirements.

"The welfare of our staff is our main concern and we will be doing everything we can to support them throughout the process.

"As a result, the organisation is proposing to reduce the number of roles in some support functions and activities of the business where this is appropriate, with a reduction of around 500 roles across the organisation."

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British gas owner Centrica to cut 4,000 jobs

Centrica's head office in Windsor. Credit: PA

Centrica is to axe thousands of jobs following a strategic review, it was announced today.

The British Gas owner said it was reducing its headcount by 6,000 across the group, not all in the UK.

But the company will create 2,000 other jobs so the net effect will be 4,000 job losses.

British Gas' operating profit was up by 44%, according to today's interim first half results from the group, which was larger than expected.

The company said this was because of a colder year compared to 2014, with consumption up by 11%.

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Centrica set to announce heavy job losses

A general view of the Centrica Head office in Windsor, Berks. Credit: PA

Gas giant Centrica is set to announce heavy job losses when it unveils its latest financial results today.

There is speculation that the British Gas owner will cut up to 2,000 posts, with management positions likely to be included.

Asset sales and cost reductions are also likely to be announced by the company, which employs 37,500 workers globally and has 27.9 million customer accounts.

The results will be announced by chief executive Iain Conn, who took up the post in January.

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M & S to close in Aldershot

Marks and Spencer to close after 80 years Credit: ITV Meridian

After eighty years in business, it's been confirmed the Marks and Spencer store in Aldershot will close at the end of September.

More than eleven thousand people signed a petition to save the store.

In a statement the company says employees will be offered roles at nearby stores.

Plans to expand Didcot shopping centre get local backing

New look for the Orchard Centre Credit: South Oxfordshire Council

People in Didcot have given their backing to plans to expand the town's main shopping area. The proposals would almost double the size of the Orchard Centre - with 24 new shops and 6 new restaurants. Just under 500 people were surveyed - with 88 per cent supporting the scheme.

The project would also include a gym, public open space and more parking space for both cars and bikes. Developers say with the town's population growing, there is an increasing need to provide additional facilities for residents and visitors. When asked about the town as a place to live 92 per cent of respondents said that they are satisfied, up from 79 per cent in 2007.

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "It's really encouraging to see that residents support the proposed expansion of the Orchard Centre. The plans will go a long way to meeting the need for additional retail and leisure space and will help put Didcot on the map as a regional destination for shopping and dining."

Traders count the cost of low attendance at America's Cup

After months of planning and anticipation, yesterday's dreadful weather may have scuppered the sailing - but the America's Cup World Series was far from a washout - according to organisers.

Plans are already underway to bring the sailing spectacular back to Portsmouth next year - with Ben Ainslie saying that Saturday's racing in front of the home crowd was the most amazing day of his sailing career.

However, organisers are counting the cost of the event - with only HALF the expected 500,000 spectators attending. Seafront attractions, and traders who paid to be on the seafront, say they lost out. Richard Jones reports.

New study on impact of Heathrow expansion

A major conference is underway on the recommendation to expand Heathrow Airport rather than Gatwick. Runways UK - which promotes airport expansion is examining the best use of existing resources before any new runway is built..

As our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports both major airports say they need to expand. And he's been looking at the impact of new runways at an airport in the USA which is more than three times the size of Heathrow.

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