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Police warning over laser pens being shone at planes

Police are warning about the risks of shining laser pens at aeroplanes.

It comes as figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show almost 100 pilots reported being targeted over the North East in the last two years. Offenders could face large fines or a jail sentence if they are caught.

Bruce Storey, from Northumbria Police, said the offence went "way beyond a prank". Meanwhile, Graeme Mason, from Newcastle Airport, stressed that "heavy security" is in place to keep passengers safe.

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Lorry carrying potentially radioactive substance comes off A697 in Northumberland

A lorry carrying a hazardous substance has come off the road on the A697 in Northumberland. Police say that the material in the lorry poses a very low level of potential radioactivity. The substance has not slipped onto the road.

The road will remain closed between Lemmington Crossroads and the Bridge of Aln until the vehicle has been removed.

The substance the lorry was carrying has been identified to pose a very low risk, however, we recognise people may be concerned and I would like to reassure them that everything is being done to ensure the vehicle is removed and the road is reopened as soon as possible."

– Chief Superintendent Chris Thomson, Northumbria Police

Fog to hit region as police warn drivers

Northumbria Police are warning motorists to be wary of fog this morning.

The foggy conditions are expected to be seen across the North East until midday today.

Officers are asking members of the public to plan extra time for journeys, adapt their speed, leave safe distances between vehicles and use fog lights when visibility is seriously reduced.

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East Coast franchise list revealed

A list of bidders for the East Coast mainline franchise has been published.
A list of bidders for the East Coast mainline franchise has been published. Credit: PA wire

The Government has published a shortlist of three bidders under plans to re-privatise the East Coast mainline - which runs through the North East - sparking a row over whether the rail franchise should remain publicly-run.

Some of the biggest transport firms which already run rail routes across the UK are on the list of preferred bidders for the 393-mile route from London to Edinburgh.

These include First Group, Stagecoach, Virgin, Keolis and Eurostar.

Unions and other groups have been campaigning for months to halt re-privatisation of the franchise, which has been publicly-run since 2009.

One union official accused the Government of 'economic vandalism'.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: "Giving passengers more will be at the heart of the new East Coast franchise.

"That means new services and journeys that are faster, more punctual and more comfortable."

New high speed trains for GNER

Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) has announced its plans to introduce a new high speed express train service on the East Coast Main Line between London King’s Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh in December 2016. The trains will slash journey times by more than an hour.

The trains will slash journey times from an average of 4 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours 43 minutes between London and Edinburgh, and to 2 hours 29 minutes between London and Newcastle.

The journey times will be shorter because they will be using tilting trains, which can travel at higher speeds on a curved track. The nine-coach trains, with around 500 seats, will be updated versions of the ‘Pendolino’ train.

Infrastructure spending “long overdue”, say NECC

While there are no new projects or investment proposals included in the Infrastructure Plan, the timetable provided for some key North East projects will be welcomed by businesses.

Around £700m will be spent on regional road and rail infrastructure projects in the next three to five years - an investment that is long overdue."

– Mark Stephenson, North East Chamber of Commerce
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