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Injured tortoise has leg replaced with toy car wheel

Touche has been enjoying his new wheel. Credit: ITV News

Vets in Bristol have given a tortoise a new lease of life after replacing one of his legs with a toy car wheel.

Touche the tortoise had to have a leg amputated after an accident last week. Vets at Highcroft Veterinary Hospital attached the wheel of a Hot Wheels toy car to the underneath of his shell, providing extra support for the now three-legged tortoise.

Touche is now back home with his owner, who says he is doing well.

Cheltenham's dinosaurs pulling in the crowd

Thousands of people are heading to the Cheltenham Science Festival, which has been using dinosaurs to pull in the crowds.

The story of how they became extinct is one of the most popular displays - although there is plenty more on offer - including speakers like Professors Brian Cox and Alice Roberts.

"We are putting the best people in front of our audiences, to highlight the best science. It's fun and informative, and people from all over the UK and the world are coming to the Science Festival".

– Ashley Kent, Cheltenham Science Festival

The festival runs until Sunday - see the full programme here.


Dementia research needs more participants, say scientists

Bruce Wilson, 77, is being scanned as part of a clinical trial at Bristol University. Credit: ITV News

Researchers in the South West are urging more people in the region to consider volunteering for dementia studies.

Scientists at Bristol University are looking into the devastating condition but say efforts can be hampered if researchers can't find people willing to take part.

There are currently 39 studies looking for volunteers, including several studies running in the Bristol area. They include a clinical trial to investigate whether a blood pressure treatment could slow memory decline, as well as study investigating the earliest brain changes in the disease.

Bruce Wilson, 77, from Nailsworth is taking part in a clinical trial at the university looking into dementia. While he does not have the condition himself, he has been diagnosed with 'mild cognitive impairment', a possible precursor.

The trial, which has been running for more than a year, is looking for the early warning signs of the disease.

Not only is dementia a condition with no cure, it is a growing problem - with somebody in the UK developing it every three minutes. The number of people it affects is predicted to double in the next 30 years, and it costs the UK more than £26billion.

As an optimist, Mr Wilson believes scientists will get there, and hopes the small part he has played will help.

Researchers are hoping enough people feel the same.

People with and without dementia can sign up online here or contact one of the charity helplines: Alzheimer’s Research UK, on 0300 111 5 111, or Alzheimer’s Society, on 0300 222 1122.

The Beagle has finally landed: brainchild of Bristol genius found on Mars

The Beagle 2 did land successfully on Mars after all. Credit: European Space Agency

A space probe designed by a Bristol scientist which disappeared while on a search for alien life has been discovered on Mars.

The UK Space Agency based in Swindon has confirmed that the British Beagle 2 spacecraft did successfully land on the planet in 2003. The mission was led by Professor Colin Pillinger, who died last year aged 70, having been awarded a CBE for his services to science.

The probe was discovered by an orbiter taking photos 185 miles above the Red Planet. It was thought the probe had not survived the mission.

The Agency now believes that it landed, but did not deploy fully, leaving it unable to contact Earth. This would make Beagle 2 the first British and European spacecraft to successfully land on the Red Planet.

Professor Pillinger's daughter said he would have loved the chance to prove his critics wrong.

Kingswood-born Professor Pillinger was the driving force behind Beagle 2's Mars mission. Credit: Matthew Fearn/PA Wire

He would have loved that this shows Beagle 2 landed on Mars ... This shows such an immense success, and not forgetting all the other things that went on in the background of Beagle 2, all the promotion of science, all of the inspiration to children.

He would love that this is in the news again. He would love that this could inspire that next generation to do Beagle 3.

– Professor Colin Pillinger's daughter Shusanah


Developer: incinerator will create 300 construction jobs

The developers of the waste incinerator planned at Javelin Park on the outskirts of Gloucester say it will create 300 construction jobs and around 40 permanent jobs when the project is completed.

Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) say the plant will generate enough electricity to power approximately 26,000 homes. It will be fuelled by waste that would otherwise go to landfill, and save council tax payers £150m over 25 years.

“We are delighted with the Secretary of State’s decision to agree to the construction of the facility. The proposals were found to be in-line with the relevant planning policy and Gloucestershire County Council’s Waste Core Strategy.

“We will be working with Gloucestershire County Council to make sure the project brings as many opportunities for the local people and the economy as possible and make a positive contribution to the effects of climate change.”

– Javier Peiro, UBB

Stroud District Council 'disappointed' with incinerator decision

Stroud District Council has expressed its disappointment following the decision by Secretary of State Eric Pickles to give planning permission for the waste incinerator at Javelin Park, in Haresfield.

The district council had objected to the incinerator due to its impact on the adjacent area of outstanding natural beauty, its impact on the nearby Hunts Grove development and the inefficiency of the solution when compared to other options in terms of converting waste to energy and minimising carbon emissions.

"This is a real disappointment; however we hope that the recent appraisal of alternative options by Gloucestershire County Council will see it review its intentions.

"Whilst permission has been given, they could still opt for a solution to deal with waste which maximises recycling, maintains flexibility and minimises the impact on the environment and taxpayers’ purses.

"The case against adding more incineration capacity in the UK has become stronger and stronger and we and all the other districts should be able to work together with the county council to deliver the best solution for the future."

– Stroud District Council leader Cllr Geoff Wheeler

Government overrules Gloucestershire County Council on waste incinerator plan

The huge incinerator will be built at Javelin Park Credit: ITV News West Country

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has overruled Gloucestershire County Council to give permission for an incinerator to treat 150,000 tonnes of household waste.

Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) was awarded a contract to design and build the facility at Javelin Park in February 2013. However, the county council's planning committee refused planning permission and UBB appealed to the Secretary of State.

Residents nearby claim the development will be the size of Gloucester Cathedral with a 70m high chimney looming over homes.

Currently over half of residents' household waste is sent to landfill, which creates harmful greenhouse gases and in 2013/14 cost £9 million in tax.

The facility will make an important change in the way Gloucestershire deals with the household waste of its 600,000 residents, diverting over 92 per cent of waste from landfill. The council says it will make a significant impact on tackling climate change by removing 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save local people more than £150million over the next 25 years.

"Today's decision means the rubbish we can't recycle can be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

"Our aim is to reach 70 per cent recycling across the county and stop burying waste in the ground completely. As well as this new facility, Gloucestershire will also be using anaerobic digestion to treat food waste and recycling more. This all takes us a huge step closer."

– Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Gloucestershire County Council
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