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It's time to count our feathered friends

The House Sparrow was the most common bird spotted in West Country gardens last year. Credit: PA

The RSPB is asking people to take part in its annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey this weekend.

The charity wants us to go outside for an hour and record the wildlife we see.

Last year in the West Country, House Sparrows and Blue Tits were the most common birds spotted.

Each year around 600,000 people take part. This is the survey's 36th year.

17 years to save up for a home

Hundreds of thousands of young people are struggling to buy their first homes. Credit: ITV News

A housing charity is warning it could take a young couple with a child 17 years to buy a home in the South West.

Research by Shelter looked at wages, house prices and rents to show the challenge faced by many trying to save for a property.

It says that hundreds of thousands of young people cannot afford to buy their own homes.

Fundamentally this boils down to the fact that we're building half the number of homes we need to be building each year - and that's why so many young people are finding themselves in this situation where they just feel like life's been put on hold.

– Kate Webb, Shelter spokesperson

The West Country's phenomenon of people outside the region buying second homes here is also an issue. Shelter suggests that options such as shared ownership, which second homeowners cannot participate in, could help ease the problem.

The charity argues that with young people being priced out of the market many move out of the region to more affordable areas, which has a damaging effect on communities.

You do need young people to put down roots in the communities where they grew up if those communities are going to survive.

– Kate Webb, Shelter spokesperson

West Country at Westminster: What are the issues that matter to you?

Our emergency healthcare crisis is one of the issues that will be discussed on tonight's show. Credit: Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The A&E crisis in our hospitals, plain packaging for cigarettes, the election campaign - our political programme The West Country at Westminster kicks off tonight with a great debate.

Ian Axton's guests include Peter Heaton-Jones, the Conservative challenger hoping to become North Devon's next MP.

Tune in at 10.40pm, and join in the debate on Twitter with #wcaw.


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