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Chaos at Northern to be investigated, says Transport Secretary

The Government has hit out at the troubled rail operator Northern after commuters suffered more chaos, despite the company introducing a new emergency timetable.

Passengers we spoke to in the North West arrived at railway stations to find more than 160 services had been axed.

In a statement in the last hour, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling promised a compensation scheme for passengers.

Mr Grayling also promised an independent inquiry into the chaos and said he would not hold back if that inquiry showed Northern Rail was negligent:


Budget announcements for the North West in today's budget

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

These are the specific announcements for the region sent to us by the Treasury.

  • £243 million for transport improvements in Greater Manchester to drive productivity by improving connectivity and reducing congestion. Specific projects this will fund will be decided by the mayor Andy Burnham. A further £134 million will go to Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram. Other towns and cities across the North West will be able to bid into a £840 million fund to support transport projects in their area.
  • £4 million investment in Jodrell Bank Observatory as part of a £20.5 million project to redevelop its visitor centre – celebrating its vital contribution to science. This will boost its educational school programme, which currently helps 26,000 youngsters every year.
  • An extra £1 million to bolster flood defences across the North West. This builds on the £22 million previously invested in the Anchorsholme Coast protection scheme, which will protect 4,800 properties over the next century.
  • Manchester will become a Tech Hub, supporting businesses and skills in the area to thrive and prosper. This is part of a national expansion of Tech City, with the region receiving a share of £21million to support this.

WATCH: Concerns for rising levels of poor health

The north west has 6 of the top ten areas for fast food outlets in the country. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Most of us enjoy a takeaway, especially as a Friday treat.

But now there's concerms that the number of fast food outlets means rising levels of poor health and obesity

A new investigation by the Tonight programme has revealed the north west has 6 of the top ten areas for fast food outlets in the country.

Victoria Grimes reports.

Weather warnings in place as Storm Ophelia makes its way to the UK

Storm Ophelia is due to make its way to the UK later today Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

Storm Ophelia has hit the UK mainland today, with flights grounded and a "danger to life" warning in place.

Remnants of the hurricane have reached Britain with gusts of up to 80mph forecast - exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.

Planes have been grounded at Manchester Airport, with 20 flights cancelled and passengers warned to check ahead.

There have also been three precautionary landings at Liverpool John Lennon Airport - with one plane having to turn around and safely land at the airport shortly after take-off.

Pilots on-board the EasyJet flights are said to have noticed a strange smell in the cockpit - thought to either be due to dust from the Sahara or fumes from Portuguese forest blown by Ophelia.

The storm is expected to move across to northern England throughout Monday.

High winds are expected across the entire region, while a yellow warning is in place for much of north west England.

Forecasters are warning of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.

MET weatherman Grahame Madge said.

Parts of England, areas like the North West, are covered by a warning. The impacts will be felt in northern England into Tuesday.

Winds will be 50-60mph, possibly gusting to 70mph, even in the yellow warning areas.

– Grahame Madge, MET Weatherman

Motorists have been warned to avoid unnecessary travel due to the storm, and have been warned about flying debris, fallen trees and large waves along coastal roads.

The AA issued emergency advice to drivers to be prepared for disruption and road closures.

Spokesman Vince Crane said:

Those in the worst-affected regions such as Ireland, west Wales, the North West and Scotland should avoid unnecessary travel.

For those on the road, expect disruption and drive to the conditions. This may mean slowing down so that sudden gusts don't blow you as far off course.

Road closures are likely, particularly on exposed bridges or where debris or fallen trees cause blockages, so check your route and plan for diversions.

Strong or sudden gusts of wind are more likely on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges, or when overtaking high-sided vehicles.

Wind can also bring down trees, blow you off course or blow other vehicles into your path.

Be prepared as some roads will be treacherous. Never attempt to drive through flood water.

– Vince Crane, The AA

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said that while storms with these wind speeds tend to happen at this time of year, the one on its way is "quite a substantial system", adding that he would describe it as "pretty exceptional".

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has three battalions - 1,200 personnel in total - permanently on standby to assist with contingencies.

But an MoD spokesman said it has not yet received requests from any local authority for assistance.

An amber weather warning has been issued for the Isle of Man by the MET Office, with gails between 60-70mph expected, with risks of reaching up to 80.

The storm has disrupted travel on the island, sailings between Douglas, Heysham and Liverpool are all cancelled, with passengers booked on these sailings asked to contact the Steam Packet Company.

Motorists are advised to take alternative routes and to park vehicles away from seafront areas. Pedestrians are also urged to exercise extreme caution and stay clear from where waves are breaking.

Roads will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 7pm in the worst affected coastal locations – the northern end of Douglas Promenade, Castletown Promenade, Shore Road in Gansey and Fenella Beach/Castle Causeway in Peel.

Sandbags will be deployed to Castletown Promenade and the northern end of Douglas Promenade for use by property owners.

Although, schools and premises on the Isle of Man remain open today and bus services will be operating as normal, all after-school activities, evening classes, youth clubs, parents’ evenings and private lettings have been cancelled.

The MET Office has issued an amber weather warning for today and tonight. Credit: IOM Gov

Flights scheduled with FlyBe and Aer Lingus after 3pm from Ronaldsway are also due to be disrupted.

For further info about the storm and what an amber weather warning entails, visit the MET Office website.

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