A303 upgrade still some way off

The Government has revealed its plans to end the congestion on the A303 won't be ready until at least this time next year

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Lost teenagers followed "correct safety procedures"

The Director of theTen Tors Challenge says a group of teenagers who had to be airlifted to safety whilst training for the event followed the safety procedures put in place by the army.

Brigadier Piers Hankinson says he's pleased that their ethos of 'safety' was upheld.

The 14-year-olds were practicing for the annual Ten Tors trek across Dartmoor when they became disorientated in low cloud yesterday afternoon.

Read the full statement below:

I can confirm that an incident involving a team training for The Ten Tors Challenge 2013 occurred on Dartmoor Training Area at approximately 1500hrs yesterday (Sun 21st April 2013).

The training weekend was an entirely appropriate school-led activity within the guidelines and procedures for Ten Tors training, which is the responsibility of schools and their team managers. With three weeks to go before the event on the weekend 11-12 May I would fully expect team managers to be encouraging greater self sufficiency to teams, provided they have achieved the required levels of competency. This is judgement for the school’s team manager.

In this case the team followed the correct safety procedures as laid down by the Army and local agencies such as the Police and Dartmoor Rescue Group. The team members made the correct decision to seek assistance from the civilian emergency services due to poor visibility.

None of the team suffered any adverse affects.

I am very pleased that our ethos of ‘safety’ was upheld.

– Brigadier Piers Hankinson – Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade & Director of Ten Tors
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Seven lost teenagers airlifted to safety in Devon

Police say seven teenage boys have been airlifted to safety by helicopter after getting lost on Dartmoor. The 14-year-olds were practicing for the annual Ten Tors trek across the national park when they became disorientated in low cloud yesterday afternoon.

The boys, who were overdue in meeting up with their teachers, realised that they needed assistance and sensibly stopped walking in the worsening conditions.

The helicopter crew searched the moor in the area of Hangingstone Hill and located the boys safe and well near Great Kneeset.

As the conditions were deteriorating fast the helicopter lifted the boys and their kit from the moor, making two flights to and from Okehampton military camp, where they were reunited with their teachers.

– Devon and Cornwall Police

The boys were from a school in Wiltshire.

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More birds wash up on beaches

Hundreds of guillemots were taken to the West Hatch wildlife centre to be cleaned in February. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

More birds are being washed up on beaches across the south-west coast covered in a sticky substance, the RSPCA has said.

The guillemots have been collected from beaches stretching from Mevagissey in Cornwall to Plymouth and Whitsand Bay.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "Five of the birds have been taken to the RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton, Somerset, where unfortunately they have been put to sleep to end their suffering.

"There is no indication of where the pollution is coming from."

In February, hundreds were killed by the pollutant, which affected a 200-mile stretch of coastline.

Experts at Plymouth University found the mystery substance was almost certain to be an oil additive known as PIB.

But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had been unable to trace the source of the spill and confirmed it had closed the investigation.

Snow hits Dorset and Devon

A scene at Poundbury near Dorchester this morning Credit: ITV Westcountry

There have been significant falls of snow in parts of Dorset and Devon. It's resulted in some disruption - earlier the A37 between Yeovil and Dorchester was reported to be impassable at Holywell Cross. Driving conditions on parts of the A38 in Devon were said to be hazardous.

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Full report: Fire service cuts

The Fire Brigade Union is warning tonight that proposed cuts are the 'most savage ever' and could put public safety at risk.

Today the Devon and Somerset Fire Service revealed that it was facing a 3.4 million pound reduction in its grant from Government this year - with a further reduction of more than 2 million pounds next year. Watch Jacquie Bird's report below.

Fire Brigades Union urges public to protest against cuts

Rather than just accept these enormous cuts forced upon us by central government, the fire authority along with chief fire officer Lee Howell should tell the coalition government that this scale of cuts is unacceptable, risks destroying the fabric of this important service, and ultimately puts more lives at risk.

– TREVOR FRENCH, DEVON AND SOMERSET FBU SECRETARY

If the cuts proposed go through, there will be fewer firefighters, fewer fire stations and fewer fire engines. After the recent floods and fires firefighters have dealt with so professionally, the cuts would be a real kick in the teeth for both the public and the service. The FBU is asking people in our communities to stand up against damaging proposals for the fire and rescue service before it is too late.

– BOB WALKER, FBU BRIGADE CHAIR
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