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Concerns sinkhole 'will get bigger'

Footpath closed sign

The owner of land in County Durham where a large sinkhole has appeared says he is very worried it will get bigger.

The crater, which is around 100 feet deep, was discovered in the Cowshill area in Weardale last week. Durham County Council has closed a public footpath nearby for safety reasons.

With rain forecast over the coming days the land owner, John Hensby is concerned that the sinkhole could grow in size:

Archbishop of York calls for UK leadership in Iraq

Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA

The Archbishop of York has called upon the UK Government to show leadership both internationally and domestically to support those suffering from the "daily unfolding horrors in Iraq."

Writing on his website, Dr. John Sentamu urged the Government to use its membership of the UN Security Council to support calls for the creation of safe havens and to follow the Governments of France, Germany and Australia in offering asylum to those being persecuted.

His comments follow United Nations reports that 670 people were executed by ISIL in the city of Mosul, the worst recorded massacre committed by the Salafi-Jihadist group.

He also spoke of writing privately to the Prime Minister and "thanking him for the commitment of humanitarian aid committed by the Government to the situation in Iraq".

Internationally the Government must take a lead in its role on the UN Security Council to support calls from the United Nation’s own committees for the creation of a “safe zone” in Iraq, enforced by UN peacekeepers, to protect the country’s minorities. As a member of the Security Council the Government has voice and a chance to act. It is essential that they not only take the opportunity to do so but show leadership by encouraging others nation states to do the same.

Domestically the time has come for the Government to show leadership in offering asylum to those at risk of persecution. Other countries have acted already. France, Germany and Australia have already acted. The Government must show that it has the courage to offer sanctuary to the suffering and to demonstrate that right policies triumph over political calculations.

The time for hard hitting speeches and condemnation has passed. What is required now is action to protect those at risk from slaughter.

I will continue my vigil for peace at York Minster throughout the week. I invite all people to continue to pray for peace and our world leaders to become instruments of peace.

– The Archibishop of York

The Archibishop's full statement can be read on his website: Click here.


Post 16 school transport charges in Northumberland

Earlier this summer, dozens of parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth over plans to charge over-16s for school transport in Northumberland. (Read More: Protest over scrapping of free student transport)

Under the plans, pupils were placed into one of two categories by the council:

1) If there is public bus services which can get the student to school they should use that, not school buses.

2) If there is no public transport they can use school buses, but must pay £600 per year.

Now, parents have received a letter from Northumberland County Council explaining that there is a delay in processing passes for those entitled to use school buses and many will have to wait until the end of September before they receive them. Therefore parents are being advised to make alternative transport arrangements for the first month of the school year.

Northumberland County Council have assured parents that they are doing all they can to ensure that no eligible post 16 student who has applied for transport in good time is left without travel arrangements at the start of term:

For many years the council has operated a concessionary scheme for students of any age who are not entitled to home to school travel. They can request spare seats on school buses at a charge. This scheme is completely separate to the post 16 transport arrangements.

Every year priority is given to providing places on school buses for children who are eligible and therefore spare seats under the concessionary scheme cannot be confirmed until late September. Where possible we will confirm at an earlier date. Parents who purchase a seat under the concessionary scheme do so in the full understanding that the availability of that seat cannot be guaranteed. We always advise these parents to have contingency plans in place until they receive confirmation.

Under the new post 16 scheme for those families who do not qualify for any financial assistance and there is no suitable public transport, students will have to pay £600 for a place on a school bus. The Council will now provide more time for parents to pay the initial instalment of £200 and return their completed direct debit mandate to secure their child’s place on a school bus.

– Northumberland County Council

A1 closures and road works: when and where

A1M junction 59 to 60, Newton Aycliffe to Bradbury, County Durham: Bridge repair - Lane 1 and 2 will be closed in both directions every night between 8pm and 6am until 1 September.

A1M junction 61, Bowburn, Durham, County Durham: Improvement work - Phases of closures will be in place on the interchange between 8pm and 6am from 4 August to 10 September between Mondays and Fridays.

A1M junction 63 Interchange, Chester-le-Street, County Durham: Improvement work - Lane closures will be in place on the southbound exit slip road and circulatory nightly between 8pm and 6am until late November.

A1 Junction 56 to Junction 51, North Yorkshire: Motorway upgrade work - Various lane closures will be in place between Junction 51 and 56 north and southbound from 8pm to 6am until 31 August.

A1 Allerdene Bridge, Team Valley, Newcastle/Gateshead Western Bypass: Bridge work - Lane 1 will be closed each Saturday night between 11pm and 9am until 28 September.

A1 Coal House Interchange, Newcastle/Gateshead Western Bypass: Improvement works - Lane closures on the interchange and slip roads will be in place north and southbound between 8pm and 6am in ongoing phases until end of November 2014.

A1 Coal House to Swalwell Interchanges, Newcastle/Gateshead Western Bypass: Major upgrading work - There will be north and southbound carriageway closures in place between 8pm and 6am from 26 August for 9 nights.

A1 Clifton to Shotton, Morpeth, Northumberland: Horticultural work - Lane 2 will be closed north and southbound between 8pm and 6am overnight 28 and 29 August.

A1 Dunston to Metro Centre Interchange, Newcastle/Gateshead Western Bypass: Overhead message sign repair work - Lane 1 and the dedicated lane will be closed northbound between 6am and 9am Saturday 30 August.

A1 Scremerston to Denwick, Alnwick, Northumberland: Lining work - Night time convoy working will be in place between 8pm and 6am with a 40mph and 10mph speed restriction.

A1 Newton on the Moor, Alnwick, Northumberland: Kerb replacement work - Lane 1 southbound will be closed daily between 8am and 6pm until 12 September.

A1 Seaton Burn Interchange, Cramlington, Northumberland: Junction improvement work - Works to improve the interchange will be ongoing until December. Phases of night time lane closures and some slip road closures will be in place between 8pm and 6am.

A1 Warreners House, Morpeth, Northumberland: Resurfacing and road marking work - Convoy working will be in place overnight 8pm to 6am 26 August to 2 September. The entry slip lane will be closed with diversion in place, 40mph and 10mph speed restrictions apply.

For further details of diversions, visit the Highways Agency website: Click here


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