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Working with nature keeps town safe from floods

Despite weeks of heavy rain that inundated the surrounding areas, the town of Pickering in North Yorkshire stayed safe from the floods simply by working with rather than against nature.

Pickering flooded in 2007 but couldn't get funding for a flood barrier. Instead a smaller, and cheaper reservoir to store water and let it out slowly was built further up Pickering beck.

In addition, 167 small, leaky dams were built out of logs and branches and trees were planted.

ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha reports:

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Ferrybridge coal-fired power station to close in 2016

Ferrybridge power station Credit: Stephen Pond / EMPICS Sport

The Ferrybridge coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire is to close by March of next year.

Operator SSE has blamed rising costs and the impact of environmental legislation, claiming that the plant is forecast to lose £100m over the next five years.

Paul Smith, SSE Managing Director, and Generation, said: “This was a very difficult decision to take because of the impact on our Ferrybridge employees, their families and the community.

“It’s been known for many years that the UK would have to phase out coal as it moves towards a more sustainable energy mix. We’ve sought to protect jobs and invest in the site to keep it running for as long as we possibly could but ultimately we’ve had to make this regrettable decision today."

He said that SSE was keen to ensure that Ferrybridge's 172 staff would be redeployed.

The station has been operational since 1966 and has two units, which are nearly 50 years old.

Stamp duty reforms 'helped boost housing market'

Radical reforms in stamp duty have helped boost the housing market, experts have said.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said the changes - which see stamp duty increased gradually alongside the cost of the house, rather than increasing in large 'steps' - are responsible for a predicted rise in house prices, coupled with a lack of homes to choose from.

Under a revised system unveiled and launched earlier this month, the vast majority of buyers will pay less stamp duty - though it means people buying homes at the top end of the market will pay significantly more.

Read: Stamp duty reforms: How the new rules will affect you

Read: Buyers beware? The hidden costs of stamp duty reform

House prices outside London 'to see biggest rises' in 2015

House prices in the north west, south east, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside are set to shoot up by five per cent in the coming year - while property in the capital will remain level, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said.

It comes as further research from property analyst Hometrack found that house prices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham had grown at a faster rate than London over the three months to November.

The predictions come from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Credit: PA

The RICS predictions state that Northern Ireland and Scotland will see overall increases of four per cent, while the east of England, the East Midlands and the north east are set to see rises of three per cent.

House prices in Wales and the south west are expected to rise by two per cent.

London is the only region due to see no overall rise at all, though property experts have warned of massive fluctuations between different areas of the capital.

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