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Population of Brighton could be powered by new Rampion wind farm by 2018

Construction of a £1.3billion wind farm off the Sussex coast will begin early next year, it's been announced.

Engineers will start building a substation in Twineham, near Haywards Heath, to serve the Rampion project next month.

When completed the 116 turbines will produce enough electricity to power 290,000 homes - the equivalent of the population of Brighton and Hove - cutting CO2 emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes a year.

We speak to Chris Tomlinson, project director of Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

Huge cargo ship docks in Southampton

One of the biggest cargo ships in the world docked in Southampton today.

At 1,305 feet - the Kerguelen is longer than the Shard and the Eiffel Tower are tall. It can transport almost 200 thousand tonnes of goods.

The ship can also carry more than 17 thousand containers - which would measure 67 miles if stacked end-to-end - the distance from Winchester to Central London.

As Kerry Swain reports, the ship is the first of many massive vessels expected at the port this year.


New orchard to help UK pears compete with imports

The largest conference pear orchard the UK has seen for 40 years is being planted on a fruit farm in Kent.

It is hoped that modern growing techniques and technology, mean it will be able to compete with European imports, making it easier to buy a local pear -- from local shelves.

The industry has been in decline but its hoped the new orchard will help it flourish. Sarah Saunders reports.

The interviewees are Nigel Stewart, Technical Director; and Edwin Martin, a local food promoter.

Randolph Hotel reopens for business after major fire

Randolph Hotel due to reopen today

A famous hotel in Oxford damaged by fire that spread to its roof is preparing to reopen today.

The five-star Randolph Hotel in Beaumont Street was evacuated last month after the blaze which started in a ground floor kitchen.

The Gothic building was closed for repairs to take place after the fire on the 17th April. At its height more than seventy firefighters were at the scene tackling the flames.

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.


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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