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Warning over cooking oil as river of fat clogs up sewers

It's a problem which is costing £1m pounds a month - and it's happening right under our feet. So-called 'fatbergs' - mountains of fat - congealed in the sewers - are putting the system at risk of collapse.

Thames Water has written to more than 200 restaurants in Oxford alone, in a bid to stop used oil being poured down the sink.

The blockages can take months to break down - which could mean more misery for drivers as repairs take place. Cary Johnston reports.

Major investment needed for Oxford sewer pipes

The city's sewer network needs major investment Credit: ITV

Oxford's sewer pipes are on the verge of collapse because of lumps of congealed fat have built up. Thames Water are set to spent millions of pounds to remove the so-called fatbergs from the sewer network. They're formed when people pour cooking fat down their kitchen sinks. Last year the problem caused a sewer to collapse on the Oxford Road.


Oxford researchers who studied Cecil the lion get £300,000 in donations

Researchers who studied Cecil the lion receive donations Credit: PA Images

Researchers who studied Cecil the lion - at Oxford University conservation unit WildCRU, have received more than £300,000 in donations since Cecil was killed by a hunter.

The Department of Zoology unit has studied the lion's whereabouts via satellite since 2008.

David Macdonald, Director of Oxford’s WildCRU said:

"I have wonderful news for all those following the story of Cecil, and our work for lion conservation in Zimbabwe and beyond. Overnight, thousands of donors worldwide brought the total of the Cecil Appeal to £300,000. This is stupendous my colleague Andy Loveridge and I are overwhelmed and inspired.

There is more. Minutes ago I spoke to American philanthropist Tom Kaplan and his wife Daphne who have been loyal supporters of the WildCRU’s work, and told them of my hope that the total appeal could reach £500,000. Tom and Daphna immediately pledged $100,000 to match, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, each donation that comes in from this minute as a stimulus to reaching that total.

We are grateful beyond measure for their generosity, and that of every single one of our donors, big or small."

– WildCRU

Caught on camera: The drivers who are NOT deliberately breaking the law

Seventy-five drivers are caught every day. They've been fined nearly four million pounds in the last five years. That's the cost to motorists of a controversial bus lane camera in Oxford.

To rub salt into the motoring wound, it is widely recognised that many drivers are NOT deliberately breaking the law. They are caught on camera largely because the signs and unclear and the road layout is confusing.

Campaigners, including business leaders, say something needs to be done to give motorists a fair chance. But the council is refusing to budge and claims the scheme prevents gridlock in the city centre. Kate Bunkall reports.

Drivers are furious! Kate reports from the controversial bus lane as it rakes in millions

Seventy five motorists a day are being caught by a controversial bus lane camera in Oxford. The camera is raking in more than £1.5 million a year for the council. Now local businessmen are calling for better signs to stop confused drivers constantly being caught. The council is refusing to budge, claiming the scheme stops the city centre getting snarled up. Kate Bunkall talked to David Marcus, Oxford High Street Traders; Graham Jones, Rox; and Ian Hudspeth, Leader, Oxfordshire County Council.


Celebrities tweet their horror after Cecil the lion, being studied by Oxford University, is shot dead

Oxford University tests scheme to improve mental health

The study involves the University of Oxford Credit: ITV

A major new study involving the University of Oxford will test whether a scheme called 'mindfulness training' will improves children's mental health. Nearly 6,000 school pupils will take part. Mindfulness - described by the NHS as paying more attention to the present moment and to your thoughts, feelings and the world around you - has become a popular and effective technique in preventing depression and promoting mental health in adults.

Award-winning play comes to the region

The Award-winning National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, is in Oxford this week. Based on Oxford-based Mark Haddon's best-selling book, it tells the story of an autistic boy from Swindon who travels to London, hoping to solve the mystery over the death of a neighbour's dog. The production has been getting rave reviews, especially for it's stunning technical lighting effects, and is at the New Theatre Oxford until Saturday. Andy Bevan reports.

Funding secured for Turner's Oxford

Turner's famous depiction of Oxford High Street Credit: Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum says it has raised enough money to acquire Turner's famous vision of Oxford High Street.

The museum says it has 'received an extraordinary response' following the launch in June of a public appeal - sending over £60,000 to help reach the fundraising target of £860,000 in just four weeks.

The painting, which has been on loan to the Museum from a private collection since 1997, has been offered to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. The High Street, Oxford would settle £3.5 million of inheritance tax – which is more than the tax liable on the estate.

In addition to the £60,000, the Ashmolean received a grant of £550,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £220,000 from the Art Fund, and a further £30,000 from the Friends and Patrons of the Ashmolean.

Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean, says: ‘The Museum has been overwhelmed by public support. With well over 800 people contributing to the appeal, it is clear that the local community, as well as visitors to the Museum from across the world, feel that this picture, the greatest painting of the city ever made, must remain on show in a public museum in Oxford.'

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