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Lighting scheme on trial at Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument at night Credit: Sunderland City Council

A new high-tech floodlighting and CCTV system will be trialled at Penshaw Monument over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Eighteen LED lights have been installed at the base of each pillar to allow a softer, white effect. The floodlights can also be programmed to display colour changing light effects meaning special anniversaries or events such as football celebrations could be highlighted in colour on the landmark.

The £43,000 investment will reduce energy costs by up to 80 per cent and save around £8,000 a year in running costs.

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Superfast broadband crosses causeway to Holy Island

Holy Island. Credit: Angela Fullerton

Holy Island – home to a wealth of history dating back to 635 AD – has now truly arrived in the 21st Century.

Superfast fibre broadband has arrived at Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast.

As well as battling the North Sea, which covers the causeway access at high tide, a team of eleven BT engineers had to lay around 14km (8.6 miles) of optical fibres from Berwick to the island.

“Living on an island like Lindisfarne can present its challenges – not least of which is the need for suitable communications links. Tourism businesses have to be able to compete on a level playing field and residents too wish to receive the same level of service as their neighbours on the mainland. “I am delighted that through the iNorthumberland programme we have been able to provide superfast broadband to this community.”

– Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader, Northumberland County Council

The iNorthumberland programme is being delivered by Northumberland County Council, with the aim of fibre broadband to around 90% of homes and businesses in the county by December 2015.

"The benefits of faster broadband speeds are considerable for businesses with many of those situated on Holy Island serving the more than 650,000 visitors, who flock to the island every year. Businesses can now access booking systems, update websites and utilise social networking sites faster and more effectively, saving both time and money.

– Sean Atkinson, who runs the Lindisfarne Hotel on the island

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Virtual reality to bring museums to life

Credit: Chronicles VR

Two Newcastle University students are bringing virtual reality (VR) to museums, allowing people to explore historic artefacts in their original context.

Dominic Deane and Rachel Derbyshire have designed special software for 3D VR headsets that can be worn by visitors.

The technology is being displayed at the Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle.

Visitors will be able to walk into a virtual Greek villa and explore relics.

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Funding approved for Harrogate railway station refurbishment plan

Plans to invest up to £35,000 to put together a refurbishment plan for Harrogate railway station have been approved.

North Yorkshire County Council has been preparing the case for electrification of the Harrogate line Credit: Press Association

North Yorkshire County Council will appoint consultants to put together proposals for a refurbished railway station as well as improvements to the area around the station.

Harrogate is the busiest station in the county and over recent years has seen usage grow by over 20 per cent.

– David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council

This initiative follows last week’s announcement by the government’s Electrification Task Force that the Harrogate line is in the top tier of schemes for future electrification.

Science Central officially opens in Newcastle

Cities Minister Greg Clark (centre) Credit: ITV News

A new £250m Science and Technology Hub has been officially opened in Newcastle. Science Central, on the site of the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery, is a partnership between the local council, Newcastle University and private companies. Cities Minister Greg Clark opened the building today - he also signed off a £330m of Government investment in local infrastructure and businesses. The government believes that by 2021 the growth deal has the potential to create 5,000 new jobs for the North East.

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