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Plans unveiled for £2.2 million flood alleviation scheme in Oxford

Parts of Oxford were badly hit by flooding in January 2014 Credit: ITV news

A decision will made today on the future of a £2.2 million pound flood alleviation scheme in Oxfordshire. It aims to reduce the risk of flooding for more than 100 homes in the Northway and Marston area. The work will include installing natural embankments and creating a wetland reserve to use as temporary flood storage. This means when an area is hit by torrential rain, water is channelled to specific areas, held there temporarily and then gradually released into the drainage system and waterways. This aims to prevents flooding of homes and businesses, roads and pavements.

If planning permission is granted, it is hoped the work will be completed in mid-2017. The Northway and Marston areas have been hit by flash flooding in the past due to their close proximity to Peasmoor Brook and the Headington Hill tributary.

Crews called to tackle fire at Oxford hotel

The fire was caused by a faulty extractor fan in the bathroom Credit: Oxfordshire

Fire crews have been tackling a blaze in a hotel in Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue were called to the Jury’s Inn Hotel yesterday afternoon.

The hotel had been evacuated when crews had arrived.

On investigation, the cause of the fire was found to be a faulty extractor fan in the bathroom of one of the rooms.

The fire was caused by a faulty extractor fan in the bathroom Credit: Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue

"I would like to congratulate the staff and management of the hotel for their fire procedures. The evacuation was completed quickly and safely, andkey information was promptly given to the crews upon arrival.

"A well-practiced Fire Evacuation plan is essential for any home or business, and the calm and controlled procedures assisted in quickly determining that no persons were trapped inside the building and lead to the rapid conclusion of this incident, with the fire and smoke damage being confined to the room of origin.

"We pride ourselves on supporting businesses and anyone requiring advice on fire prevention and or business continuity can contact us using the attached details”

– Station Manager Mick Clarke

Route revealed for Oxford flood scheme

More details of a project to protect hundreds of homes in Oxford from flooding will be revealed later.

The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will see parts of the floodplain lowered and rivers and streams widened to create more space for floodwater.

An event is being held at the town hall today to show the route of the project.

Parts of Oxford were devastated by flooding at the beginning of 2014 Credit: ITV Meridian

"We are really pleased to share the route of the scheme. The feedback from people in Oxford has helped shape this. We wanted to show this information in a visual way and to do something different.

"We hope the public find the event today informative and take the opportunity to speak to us about it."

– Joanna Larmour, Project Director for the Environment Agency


Couple in court for helping son in Syria

Jack Letts travelled to Syria in 2014 Credit: ITV Meridian

A couple from Oxford are due in court accused of sending money to their son, who's believed to have joined the Islamic State.

John Letts and Sally Lane have denied giving Jack Letts hundreds of pounds.

The twenty year old converted to Islam at sixteen and travelled to Syria in 2014.

Oxford charity says more refugees are seeking its help

The Asylum Welcome charity says it is helping more and more people each year

A charity which helps refugees in Oxford says its been inundated with people seeking help. There has been an increase in the number of people from the Sudanese and Syrian communities asking for help for food and shelter or advice in the area.

The charity Asylum Welcome has said that the number of people who have turned to its services has risen rapidly.

In 2013, 737 refugees sought help from their staff. That figure rose to 874 in 2014, but in the last year 1,000 people have asked for assistance. Mel Bloor reports.

Cars of the future unveiled in our region

The latest cars can drive themselves Credit: Rolls Royce/BMW

The region's cars of the future have been unveiled today. These images were released by Rolls Royce based at Goodwood and Mini based at Oxford.The cars can drive themselves and will have the latest technology.The concepts were revealed by parent group BMW, based at Farnborough.​The company has been looking forward to the future as it celebrates 100 years.

The Mini of the future Credit: Rolls Royce/BMW

Rolls Royce say it is the first time it has produced a concept car - and the vehicle will be the ultimate in luxury. But if you are a chauffeur it could prove to be bad news. The company say the car will drive itself.

But remember this is a concept car for the next 100 years, and not expected to be on our roads until 2040 - so don't worry too much just yet.

Oxford research: fish recognise human faces

The fish can recognise faces with a high degree of accuracy. Credit: ITV

A species of tropical fish has been shown to be able to distinguish between human faces. It is the first time fish have demonstrated this ability.

The research, carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Oxford (UK) and the University of Queensland (Australia), found that archerfish were able to learn and recognise faces with a high degree of accuracy – an impressive feat, given this task requires sophisticated visual recognition capabilities. The fish spit at the face they had been trained to recognise. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers found that fish, which lack the sophisticated visual cortex of primates, are nevertheless capable of discriminating one face from up to 44 new faces.

In the study, archerfish – a species of tropical fish well known for the ability to spit jets of water to knock down aerial prey – were presented with two images of human faces and trained to choose one of them using their jets. The fish were then presented with the learned face and a series of new faces and were able to correctly choose the face they had initially learned to recognise. They were able to do this task even when more obvious features, such as head shape and colour, were removed from the images.

Being able to distinguish between a large number of human faces is a surprisingly difficult task, mainly due to the fact that all human faces share the same basic features. All faces have two eyes above a nose and mouth, therefore to tell people apart we must be able to identify subtle differences in their features. If you consider the similarities in appearance between some family members, this task can be very difficult indeed.

– Dr Cait Newport, Oxford University
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