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Shoreham air disaster: pre-inquest review to be held

A pre-inquest review is to be held today into the deaths of 11 men following the Shoreham Airshow crash.

They were killed when a vintage jet crashed onto the A27 in West Sussex in August 2015.

No evidence will be heard but a date for the full inquest should be set.

The 53 year old pilot of the Hawker Hunter jet, Andrew Hill, is being investigated for possible manslaughter by gross negligence.

He has been questioned voluntarily under caution by police.

The pre-inquest review had to be rescheduled from March due to the ongoing police investigation and to allow a final report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) to be considered.

The final AAIB report, published in March, found that Mr Hill, from Sandon, Hertfordshire, was flying too slow and too low during the loop manoeuvre.

The pre-inquest review will be held at Centenary House, Woodfield Road, Crawley, at 10.30am.


Reminder of button battery dangers

Button batteries also pose a choking hazard

Parents are being reminded of the dangers of button batteries found in many children's toys.

West Sussex County Council's Trading Standards says that they are highly dangerous if swallowed as the electrical charge creates caustic soda inside the body.

In the run up to Christmas parents are advised to ensure the batteries in any toys are securely fixed in place.

The batteries can also be found in products such as animated Christmas decorations, children's thermometers and nightlights.

Crawley shows an eco friendly twist to Christmas

The eco friendly Christmas tree made up of 600 plastic bottles Credit: ITV

A Christmas tree made up of more than 600 reusable plastic bottles has been unveiled outside Crawley Library.

The tree which was designed by artist Tracey Graham was created in 2013 to show the importance of plastic recycling in West Sussex.

This tree is a striking way to highlight how plastic can be recycled and reused again and again.

As long as they are clean, dry and loose, all your plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays can be recycled.

– David Barling, West Sussex County Council's Cabinet Member for Residents' Services

Pupils & teachers call for 'fairer funding' for schools

Pupils and teachers from West Sussex have taken their fight for fairer school funding to Downing Street.

Campaigners say schools in their area receive £44 million pounds less than the national average. Some headteachers say they face having to lose staff and increase the number of children in their classes. They're calling for £20 million pounds to be made available.

Mystery child to be placed for adoption after parents disappear

The identity of the girl is unknown Credit: ITV Meridian

A little girl whose identity is unknown and whose parents cannot be found should be placed for adoption according to a High Court judge.

The youngster was taken into care earlier this year after social services staff at West Sussex County Council became concerned as a result of a call from a member of the public. Council staff and police launched investigations - and made a public appeal -in a bid to trace the little girl's parents but without success.

Mr Justice Hayden, who has analysed the little girl's case concluded that the authorities have all decided that she should be placed for adoption. The judge said all "realistic avenues" had been pursued - although he urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said council staff had named the little girl Jade - and a paediatrician thought that she was about two.

Police said the youngster had been found in Crawley in March.

"We really need to find out who this little girl's parents are. She may have connections to Crawley and West Sussex as well as Tooting or south London more generally. We ask that anyone who may know anything about her speaks to us.

"We are appealing in particular to those in the local Crawley and West Sussex area, the wider Ugandan community, or anyone who knows of a woman who has been caring for a young girl meeting the description until recently."

– Detective Sergeant Alexis Witek


Recommendation to increase council tax in West Sussex

Council tax could increase by almost 4% for people in West Sussex Credit: ITV News

Council tax in West Sussex could increase by nearly 4%.

The local authority says a worse than expected Government grant and ever increasing demand for services leaves it with a £44m black hole in funding.

The council has recommended the increase saying it will protect the most vulnerable.

Thousands of parents fined over term time holidays

Kent, West Sussex and Surrey Councils have handed out thousands of fines to parents who take their children out of school during term time. Kent has issued the highest number of fines in the country, over 4366. West Sussex handed out 2,402 fines and Surrey 1904.

The highest number of fines were handed out in Kent

The new rules were introduced two years ago by the government to crack down on absence and fines introduced. Many parents though, have carried on taking their children out so they can go on holiday at a time when its much cheaper.

The Local Government Association though is angry at the blanket ban on unauthorised leave, calling the system unfair.

Tree cutters in £350k 1-day scheme to stop power cuts

Trees falling on power lines have disrupted supplies in West Sussex nine times in the past year

A team of 150 workers is to carry out Southern Electric's biggest ever tree cutting programme - in a bid to reduce the number of power cuts in West Sussex.

Fallen trees hitting power lines or interfering with the network have caused nine power outages in the past year alone. The firm is spending £350,000 on the one-day operation which will see tree cutters, engineers and contractors working in Milland, Redford and Linch. Power will be turned off between 8am - 6pm in the areas with electricity being provided through temporary power generators where possible.

"We are not just minimising the risk of a power cut during high winds, but we are also reducing the number of planned outages that are needed to carry out installation of new equipment and routine tree cutting work. By doing the work in one day, and on this scale, means we don't have to keep switching off the network in the area."

– Chris Anderson, SEPD's Tree Cutting Field Manager
Tree cutters will cut back trees over an area of 200,000 square metres

The entire project will cover an area of 200,000 sq. metres. The firm has reassured the public that only vegetation and dead trees will be removed if they pose a significant threat to the network and are within falling distance of an overhead line.

The company is setting up a mobile welfare and information point to provide free hot food and drinks, as well as charging facilities for customers' mobile phones and tablets.

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