Category Archives: Press Releases

Highways England Funding Brings More Cycling And Heritage Benefits

Highways England announces multi-million pound boost for cycling, heritage and wildlife projects for communities along the A30 in Cornwall

Central Cornwall Ridgeline (Artist's Impression)

Central Cornwall Ridgeline (Artist’s Impression)

The company, responsible for managing and maintaining England’s major A roads and motorways, is pumping £27 million into the county for a wide range of initiatives including a variety of new cycle paths, habitat and heritage projects.

The funding will help walkers and cyclists travel safely by creating a network linking Truro with St Agnes, Perranporth and Newquay. It will also help restore internationally rare heathland habitat and Bronze Age barrows, reduce flooding and water quality issues, and restore the Grade II registered Chyverton Park.

Vinita Hill, Highways England Designated Funds Director, said:

Highways England is delighted to be partnering with Cornwall Council to realise a number of environmental and cycling projects. Our designated funds programme was developed so that we can invest in projects beyond our traditional road build and maintenance, and this is a glowing example of how this funding can have a positive impact on people and communities.

A total of £17 million is being invested from Highways England’s Cycling, Safety and Integration Designated Fund, alongside a further £2 million from Cornwall Council towards a comprehensive, high-quality off-road walking and cycling.

Spanning more than 30 kilometres, and starting later this year, the work will significantly improve the cycle network, increasing cycling as a method of travel to work, attract leisure and tourism trips, and contribute to healthy active lifestyles, while opening access to the countryside to be enjoyed by resident and tourist cyclists alike. The routes include:

  • St Agnes to Truro
  • Trispen to Idless
  • St Newlyn East to Carland Cross
  • Perranporth to Newquay

Cornwall Council will lead the delivery of these schemes, and over the coming months will conduct surveys and collect information to develop the designs. Early engagement with landowners will be followed by public and stakeholder consultation later in the year, with the schemes due to be delivered by spring 2021.

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio holder for Transport said:

This major funding from Highways England provides us with a wonderful opportunity to provide some great opportunities for cycling.

The routes will complement other cycle routes and trails across Cornwall. The cycle network will reach out to towns and villages and link with where residents live and work, connecting our communities and joining up access to the services that people want and need.

Cycling also helps address congestion and air quality issues and plays a key role in promoting a healthy life for our residents, and we look forward to working with our partners at Highways England and with the local communities, on delivering these exciting schemes.

A total of £10 million of Environment Designated Funds will help improve and conserve the quantity, quality and condition of valued landscape features within mid-Cornwall.

Including historic assets within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage site, the funding will help Cornwall Council and partners to build on their work around environmental growth and climate resilience, and the numerous schemes will include:

  • creating nature-friendly “Green Ribs” to provide improved habitat and safe corridors for wildlife in landscapes either side of the strategic road network
  • enhancing and restoring the internationally rare heathland habitat at Newlyn Downs,
  • working with nature to reduce flooding and water quality issues downstream of local watercourses
  • rescuing the Grade II listed Wheal Busy Smithy building near Chacewater
  • understanding and enhancing the area’s Bronze Age barrows and the prehistoric “landscape of ancestors” they represent
  • restoring the Grade II registered Chyverton Park

Sue James, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for environment and public protection added:

This funding from Highways England offers an opportunity for partners to work with local communities to restore and enhance the environment, together with historic and cultural assets in mid-Cornwall.

It will support our climate emergency plans, helping residents to reduce their dependency on car travel while supporting communities in adapting to the impacts of climate change by improving waterways and flood resilience. The schemes build on the work of local partners in Cornwall, offering benefits to residents, wildlife and visitors now and into future decades.

Partners involved in the projects are Cornwall Council, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England, Cornwall Catchment Partnership, and Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

The Government allocated £675 million of funds to Highways England over a five-year spending period covering 2015 to 2020.

The series of ring-fenced funds are designated to address a range of issues including Environment, Cycling, Safety and Integration, Air Quality and Innovation.

The cycling projects in Cornwall have been developed as part of Highways England’s cycling designated fund, and the company is working to achieve a target to deliver 150 cycling schemes by the end of the Road Investment Period (2015-2020). The Cornwall projects are due to complete in 2021.

For more information please visit the Highways England Designated Fundspage.

You can also visit the specific A30 Designated Funds projects page.

Sentenced: Bankrupt Claimed He Burnt £70,000 Owed To Creditors

A bankrupt has received a suspended prison term after he tried to avoid paying his creditors, claiming he had burned nearly £70,000

Parliament Street

Parliament Street

David Harry Lowes-Bird (71), from Trimsaran, Kidwelly, was found guilty on Wednesday 13 February 2019 of one count of fraudulent removal of property contrary to the Insolvency Act 1986. At Swansea Crown Court, he was sentenced to 6 months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

Over the course of a three-day trial, the court heard that David Lowes-Bird was involved in a protracted legal dispute with a firm of insolvency practitioners. But he lost the case in November 2014 and was ordered by the courts to pay £30,000 in costs.

However, David Lowes-Bird had substantial debts and was unable to pay the insolvency practitioners. This resulted in him accepting a Bankruptcy Restriction Undertaking on 25 February 2016, lasting 9 years, after the insolvency practitioners petitioned for his bankruptcy.

Around the same time, David Lowes-Bird received nearly £80,000 in an insurance pay-out and this should have gone to the Official Receiver in order to pay his creditors, including the insolvency practitioners he had previously been ordered to pay costs to.

Upon realising this, however, he removed the £80,000 from his account and claimed to the Official Receiver that he burned it in order to prevent the insolvency practitioners at all costs from receiving it.

While giving evidence in court, David Lowes-Bird changed his story and claimed he burnt £30,000 and had given a large part of the remaining insurance pay-out to charity, although he offered no evidence of this.

Upon sentence, Mr Recorder Mills said that David Lowes-Bird’s actions were “wicked, arrogant and actually very stupid”.

Glenn Wicks, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:

David Lowes-Bird could have paid the £30,000 debt owed to the insolvency practitioners. However, his hatred towards them and sense of injustice was his motive, which ultimately led to his downfall.

FCO Minister Alistair Burt Co-Chairs 11th Joint Working Group Meeting In Bahrain

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt underlines the strength and depth of the UK-Bahrain relationship, and the UK’s continuing support for reform

The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP

The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP

On Wednesday (20 February), Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, visited Bahrain for the eleventh meeting of the UK-Bahrain Joint Working Group. Mr Burt co-chaired the meeting with His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain.

Together with officials from Bahrain and the UK, Mr Burt and His Excellency Sheikh Khalid discussed a wide range of issues, including recent political and security developments within the Middle East, human rights, key trade and investment opportunities, and co-operation and assistance on defence, security, education, science and innovation transport, energy and environmental issues.

Mr Burt reiterated the UK’s full support for Bahrain’s plans to deliver sustainable change in the Kingdom. The ministers agreed that the UK would continue to co-operate with Bahrain and share appropriate technical assistance and expertise, further supporting Bahrain-led reform initiatives.

Speaking at the end of the Joint Working Group, Alistair Burt said:

It was a pleasure to return to Bahrain today for a productive meeting of our Joint Working Group, and I am grateful to Bahrain and H. E. Sheikh Khalid for hosting me. The UK and Bahrain have always had a close and important relationship which continues to grow in strength across a wide range of areas of mutual interest. The UK will continue to support Bahrain on the delivery of ongoing reform initiatives, and we will work together to underpin peace and security in the Gulf region.

Businesses Urged To Sign Up For Latin America And Caribbean Roadshow

Businesses from across the UK are being encouraged to sign up for the Latin America and Caribbean (LATAC) Roadshow to explore new export opportunities

Exporting is GREAT Britain

Exporting is GREAT Britain

UK businesses are being urged to register for the 2019 Latin America and Caribbean (LATAC) Roadshow organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to identify new export opportunities in the region.

The LATAC Roadshow will be held at various locations across the UK including Glasgow, London, Reading, Leeds and the East Midlands. Businesses can register here before 28 February 2019 to attend.

These events will provide businesses with insight into the latest exporting opportunities in vibrant markets such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Joanna Crellin, HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, will lead the events alongside senior trade experts from DIT to give companies the latest advice and insights into new markets.

Businesses will also hear first-hand the experiences of companies which are already successfully exporting to LATAC, including JCB, Whittaker Engineering, Concept Smoke Screen and ABI electronics.

International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade Dr Liam Fox MP said:

The Latin America and Caribbean region is home to more than 650 million people, where growing economies are demanding high-quality products and services. Companies that take advantage of this demand will flourish as the UK leaves the European Union and as the world looks to a time beyond Brexit.

Each year, my international economic department helps thousands of companies of every size to break into global markets. Engagement with business roadshows such as LATAC will help companies to make the most of these export opportunities and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Latin America and the Caribbean combined is equivalent to the world’s third largest economy after China and the USA, offering vast potential for UK businesses across sectors such as food and drink, oil and gas, infrastructure and financial services.

HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, Joanna Crellin, said:

Latin America and the Caribbean have vibrant and dynamic economies, so the roadshow presents a valuable opportunity for UK businesses to develop stronger trade links outside Europe.

“In the year to September 2018, £12.8 billion worth of UK goods and services were exported to LATAC – but there is potential for so much more, which is why DIT is dedicated to promoting UK trade and prosperity globally and improving market access for businesses. I look forward to attending the roadshow and meeting innovative British businesses ready to make their mark across the world.”

Home to over 650 million people, LATAC includes 48 countries and territories with a growing middle-class population, resulting in greater demand for high-quality products and services.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:

A number of Scottish companies are already working in and exporting to South America very successfully. I have visited South America in recent years to promote Scottish business interests and to help launch Innes and Gunn in the Paraguay market.

I know from speaking to businesses out there that Scotland’s skills, products and services are highly regarded, and I’ve seen first-hand the opportunities that exist. I’ve also witnessed the support on offer from DIT and our diplomatic networks.

So I would encourage businesses in Scotland to attend the LATAC Roadshow to identify new export opportunities and meet the demand for high-quality Scottish products and services worldwide.

Ian Harrison, Head of Exports for the Midlands at DIT, said:

There is an untapped demand across Latin America and the Caribbean for UK goods and services in these high value sectors, and our mission is to showcase the prospects in the region. I highly encourage businesses to sign up and take advantage of this opportunity.

Ben Raby, Head of South East, Department for International Trade, said:

The Latin America and Caribbean regions provide numerous trade opportunities for the UK, and there is no better time for UK businesses to explore these emerging markets.

I encourage businesses across the South East to attend the LATAC Roadshow and take advantage of the expert advice on offer and learn about the demand for high-quality British products and services in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Next Generation Of Artificial Intelligence Talent To Be Trained At UK Universities

New post-graduate artificial intelligence (AI) drive to boost productivity and create high skilled jobs as part of the modern Industrial Strategy

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

  • New industry-funded AI Masters, and 16 dedicated Centres at universities across the country to train the next generation of AIPhDs
  • prestigious Alan Turing Institute AI research fellowships now open – allowing Britain to retain and attract the very best global talent
  • new figures show that inward investment to the UK AI sector has increased by 17% over the past year, more than the whole of Europe combined

Thousands of graduates to become qualified experts in artificial intelligence (AI) as part of a new joint government-industry package to drive up skills in the AI sector, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright announced today (21 February 2019).

For the first time, the UK will have a nationwide programme of industry-funded AI Masters courses coupled with work-based placements.

The new skills and talent package is a major milestone of the modern Industrial Strategy’s AI Sector Deal which was launched in April 2018. It is supported by industry funding and up to £110 million government investment, including:

  • up to 200 new AI Masters places at UK universities funded by companies such as DeepMind, QuantumBlack, Cisco and BAE Systems. The Masters programme marks the first nationwide effort to address the skills gap at this level, in collaboration with the Institute of Coding and British Computer Society
  • 1,000 students will have the opportunity to enhance their skills with new PhDs at 16 dedicated UK Research and Innovation AI Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), located across the country
  • up to 5 AI research Fellowships, created in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute to both attract and retain the best research talent from around the world.

The announcement comes as new figures prepared for Tech Nation by Dealroom.co reveal the number of venture capital investments into the UK’s rapidly growing AI sector leapt by 17% last year.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

The UK has long been a nation of innovators. This AI skills and talent investment will help nurture leading UK and international talent to ensure we retain our world-beating reputation in research and development.

Artificial intelligence has great potential to drive up productivity and enhance every industry throughout our economy, from more effective disease diagnosis to building smart homes. Today’s announcement is our modern Industrial Strategy in action, investing in skills and talent to drive high skilled jobs, growth and productivity across the UK.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said:

The UK is not only the birthplace to the father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing, but we are leading the way on work to ensure AI innovation has ethics at its core.

We want to keep up this momentum and cement our reputation as pioneers in AI. Working with world class academic institutions and industry we will be able to train the next generation of top-tier AI talent and maintain the UK’s reputation as a trailblazer in emerging technologies.

As companies throughout the UK increasingly use AI in processes from manufacturing to fashion and construction to medical imaging, upskilling people to develop and maintain the new technology is crucial to its success in boosting productivity. This is part of the government’s continued drive to be a world-leader in harnessing the economic benefits of AI and the data-driven revolution, as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.

The schemes, aimed at people of different stages in higher education and available to researchers at a variety of levels, helps to build advanced AI skills at all levels, a key commitment contained within the AI Sector Deal.

Dame Wendy Hall, AI Skills Champion said:

I’m delighted to see the recommendations of the review that Jérôme Pesenti and I wrote just over a year ago, coming to life in such a comprehensive set of skills and talent initiatives.

They provide a great impetus to developing AI skills and talent and I strongly encourage industry, universities and those of you who aspire to be part of putting the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution to get involved in these 3 initiatives.

Finally, to develop the best and brightest AI researchers in the UK, the government is funding a new globally prestigious Fellowship programme. The first wave has been launched by The Alan Turing Institute.

Adrian Smith, Institute Director, The Alan Turing Institute said:

Artificial intelligence represents an incredible opportunity to transform our economy and our lives for the better. The Turing AI Fellowships will be crucial in building UK leadership capability, driving forward ambitious research and ensuring that the UK can attract, retain, and develop world-leading research talent.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:

Artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology in a range of sectors, enabling new products and services and transforming data science. It allows us to develop new approaches to challenges as diverse as early disease diagnosis and climate change.

To maintain its leadership in AI, the UK will need a new generation of researchers, business leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with new skills. Working with partners across academia and industry, the centres announced today will provide the foundations for these future leaders.

The AI and Data Grand Challenge

The Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity. Artificial intelligence and data is one of the 4 Grand Challenges which will see AI used across a variety of industries and put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution. Exploring the best skills package to equip people with the expertise to make the most of AI was a key commitment of the AI and Data Grand Challenge’s £950 million Sector Deal.

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