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Spring around the corner as venues begin new season

It may still feel very much like winter, but for the National Trust, the 'summer' season is just beginning.

It may be still grey outside but blue skies are just around the corner Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

Some of the region's favourite tourist attractions open their doors to visitors again after closing for the winter.

The venues include Souter Lighthouse in Whitburn; Wallington, near Morpeth; and Cragside near Rothbury. Between them, they welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from March to November.

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New drug-driving laws come into force

This government advert warned about the dangers of drug-driving

A new law comes into force today (Monday 2nd March), that will help the police to catch drivers using drugs. It means officers will be able to test drivers' saliva by the side of the road.

Police in Newcastle will be explaining the new law to people by the Monument in the city centre this lunchtime.

Durham Prison in 'top ten most overcrowded jails'

Durham Prison has been named as one of the UK's most overcrowded jails.

Durham Prison is overcrowded, said the Howard League for Penal Reform

The Howard League for Penal Reform analysed figures from the Ministry of Justice. It said the building was designed to hold fewer than 600 inmates but actually has more than 900.

Tyne Tees Weather - Monday

Snowdrops in Howick, and snow in the forecast Credit: IAN DAVISON

A cold and windy day after early frost and ice, with bright or sunny intervals and scattered wintry showers - giving further accumulations over the Cheviots and Pennines.

Winds will remain cold and strong, adding a significant windchill to struggling temperatures, highs around 5C.

£10 million to improve Newcastle's cycleways

It's hoped the money will make cycling safer in Newcastle Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle is to get ten million pounds to improve cycle routes in the city.

The money, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, will expand and improve cycle and pedestrian networks to encourage people to cycle to work.

It follows an announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister at a cycling summit last November to extend £115 million of funding for eight cycling cities across the country.

In January this year Newcastle successfully bid for a share of the money.

"We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we're in the right gear to see it through. That's why I'm so pleased to announce this investment for Newcastle to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.

"With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.

"Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population."

– Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg
Newcastle will receive £10 million Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Research commissioned by British Cycling, found if the UK became a cycling nation, like the Netherlands or Denmark, it could:

  • save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years
  • reduce road deaths by 30%
  • increase mobility of the nation's poorest families by 25%
  • increase retail sales by a quarter

"Cycling is great for your health and good for the environment, and this government is doing all it can to help more people get out on their bikes.

"We have doubled the amount of money available for cycling and taken steps to make sure that future governments plan properly for cycling.

"This investment shows our continued commitment to making cycling even easier and safer, and our ambition to help make these cities better for cycles."

– Robert Goodwill MP, Cycling Minister
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