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Mayor to unveil UK's first council-owned wind farm

George Ferguson will today unveil the UK's first council-owned wind farm at Avonmouth. Credit: Frank May/DPA/Press Association Images

Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson, will today unveil the UK's first council-owned wind farm which is being installed at Avonmouth.

It's hoped the turbines, when they swing into action next month, will become the council's biggest source of renewable energy.

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Bristol's hi-tech role in smartphones and tablets

The Science Minister was at a trading estate near Bristol today. The location may sound a little dull - but the work David Willetts went to see is cutting edge in the world of technology.

Nvidia is an American-based firm which has just doubled the size of its operation here in the West. It develops and builds technology used in mobile phones and tablet computers. Our political reporter Robert Murphy joined him.

Plans submitted for solar park in Wroughton

A solar park could be built in Wroughton Credit: Swindon Commercial Services Ltd

Plans for a solar park in Wroughton have been submitted to Swindon Borough Council.

Swindon Commercial Services Ltd are proposing to build it to address local renewable energy requirements within the administrative area of Swindon Borough Council.

The new facility will be located at The Science Museum at Wroughton, Swindon.

An Environmental Impact Assessment will be prepared to accompany the planning application.

An exhibition to display the initial proposals for the site was held on Saturday 26th January 2013 at the Ellendune Community Centre, Barrett Way, Wroughton.

  1. West Country (W)

Seven Devon and Somerset towns to get superfast broadband

Seven rural towns and villages have been named as the first communities to benefit from the major £94 million scheme to get superfast internet.

By the end of this year, high-speed fibre optic broadband will start to become available in:

  • Moretonhampstead
  • Holsworthy
  • Sticklepath (near Okehampton)
  • Bradford on Tone
  • Bishops Lydeard
  • Creech St Michael
  • Monkton Heathfield (near Taunton)

Construction work for Sticklepath and Bradford on Tone has started three months early.

By early 2014, 15,000 homes and businesses in these areas will benefit from the new technology.

It is estimated that about 400,000 kilometres of optical fibre will need to be laid.

The first phase of the programme will also include extending fibre broadband in Taunton and Bridgwater, most of which have already been upgraded.

High speed fibre broadband is a key driver of economic growth and development. It has the potential to transform our rural businesses and communities, improve productivity, and enable business to access new markets while breaking down the digital divide within our communities. It will also improve and transform the delivery of public information and services.

– Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council

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Tractor Wifi system at Glastonbury

A festival-goer on the phone at a previous Glastonbury Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Glastonbury Festival-goers will be able to keep in touch this week, thanks to an unlikely piece of farm equipment. One of festival organiser Michael Eavis's tractors has been converted into a 4G wifi hotspot. It will be driven around the site at Worthy Farm during this weekend's event.

  1. National

NSA whistleblower: GCHQ 'tapped fibre-optic cables'

British intelligence agency GCHQ secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data, according to documents released by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The agency is able to tap into and store data from the cables for up to 30 days so it can be analysed under an operation codenamed Tempora, The Guardian reported.

GCHQ would not comment on intelligence matters but insisted it was "scrupulous" in complying with the law.

GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The newspaper said there were two principal components to the agency's surveillance programme, called Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation.

It claimed the data was shared with the organisation's US counterpart the National Security Agency (NSA).

The information is the latest leak from Mr Snowden, the whistleblower responsible for a string of disclosures about US intelligence operations.

  1. National

Rolls Royce sponsor British attempt at land speed record

Bloodhound project director Richard Noble pictured with the Bloodhound supersonic car. Credit: PA

British engine maker Rolls-Royce is to sponsor for the first time a bid to break a world land speed record, it was announced today.

The company is backing the Bristol-based Bloodhound project, which is focused on travelling at over 1,000mph and breaking the world land speed record.

A Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine will be used in conjunction with a custom designed hybrid rocket.

Next year the Bloodhound team are hoping to travel to South Africa to break the current land speed record of 763mph. They then will target the 1,000mph barrier.

Colin Smith, director of engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce, said the firm will also provide financial and technical support for the project.

"Cutting edge engineering keeps Rolls-Royce and the UK at the forefront of global business," he said.

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