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Smoking could soon be banned in Piccadilly Gardens and other city centre areas

The first outdoor smoking ban could come into force by the end of this year

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Peter McDermott / Wikimedia Commons & Jocelyn Lusseau / Unsplash

Areas of Manchester city centre could soon be smoke-free as part of a new pilot project aiming to crack down on the habit.

The project, courtesy of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, will see smoking be completely banned in certain parts of the city centre, with Piccadilly Gardens, St. Peter’s Square and the area around Manchester Town Hall currently being considered.

While banning smoking around the Etihad Stadium has also been suggested, the new Mayfield park near Piccadilly Station is currently the only public space under ‘active consideration’.

According to the proposal, smokers would be asked to either stub out their cigarettes or leave the smoke-free area by enforcement officers.

Mike Peel / Wikimedia Commons

There are no plans to bring in by-laws or fines for people caught smoking, with an ‘education-first’ approach, offering smokers support to quit, being adopted instead.

A public consultation asking members of the public and local businesses for suggestions of places they want to become smoke-free is expected to start next month, with a final decision due in autumn.

Read More: Smoking in beer gardens could soon be banned under new measures to stop smokers

Salford mayor Paul Dennett, chair of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Board, said of the plans: “People living in Greater Manchester have a lower life expectancy than those living in other parts of the country, and we must take action to reduce preventable illnesses and the role they play in our considerable health inequalities.

“When we look at smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable illnesses, we have some of the highest smoking rates in the country, and it has a significant impact on our people’s health and wellbeing.

Lindsay Fox / Flickr

“Smoke-free spaces not only promote healthy behaviours to children and young people, but they also encourage smokers to quit and make it easier for ex-smokers to stay smoke-free.

“Through the Partnership for Healthy Cities network we will boost our efforts in making smoking history to ensure longer, healthier lives for our residents.”

Greater Manchester recently joined the Partnership of Healthy Cities, a global network committed to preventing noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung disease.

By joining, the region has pledged to create more smoke-free outdoor spaces to protect residents and visitors from illnesses caused by tobacco.

The first smoking ban in an outdoor public space could come into force by the end of the year with further smoke-free spaces introduced by March 2023. More smoke-free spaces could then be rolled out gradually across Greater Manchester.

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Andy Burnham says Avanti West Coast must improve or ‘contract should be terminated’

Avanti is running a heavily reduced timetable as a result of ‘unofficial strike action’

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The BMA / Flickr & TheFrog001 / Wikimedia Commons

Andy Burnham has urged the Transport Secretary to make Avanti West Coast run more trains to Manchester or terminate the firm’s contract.

In a letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the mayor of Greater Manchester said he wants Avanti to run at least two services between Manchester and London per hour by the end of the month – or have their contract removed altogether. 

The Department for Transport has today placed the train firm on a short-term contract to challenge it to deliver the urgent increase in services required.

Back in August, the train company announced it would be reducing its services between Manchester and the capital to just one per hour as a result of ‘unofficial strike action’ by ASLEF members.

And over the last three weeks, an average of 10% of Avanti West Coast services between Manchester and London were either cancelled or significantly late. 

Over this same three-week time period, over a quarter of services (27%) have failed to arrive on time, according to Granada Reports.

Yet while Avanti has said it plans to return to an increased timetable by December 11th,  Burnham said it should happen sooner, and is calling for two trains per hour by the end of October, and three trains by December.

In his letter, Burnham wrote: “Unless this happens and is clearly communicated, train travel between our most important economic regions will continue to be chaotic, forcing people into their cars or into abandoning plans to travel entirely.

“These dreadful conditions would be unacceptable at any time but are particularly so now given the wholesale collapse of the timetable, something no other train company is experiencing at anything like this scale.

“Passengers face other challenges too. Tickets are still only being released a few days in advance, making planning for individuals and businesses impossible.

“Without this commitment, I will be unable to support a new contract for Avanti.”

In response, a spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: “We are already delivering on our commitment to increase the number of services we are running between Manchester and London, with three or four trains an hour departing Manchester Piccadilly at the key times of the day.

“We remain focused on providing a reliable train service for our customers and restoring a full timetable of three trains an hour all day between London and Manchester, in December.

“Our revised timetable, with no reliance on overtime, is also proving more reliable – in the last week, we have run 300 trains between London and Manchester, with approximately one in thirty of them cancelled, mainly because of short-notice sickness.

“That compares with one out of thirteen trains cancelled back in mid-July.

“Nevertheless, we know that at the moment we’re not delivering the service our customers rightly expect and we apologise for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this is causing.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

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Tributes pour in for ‘gorgeous’ mum killed in Liverpool dog attack

Police say five American bulldogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Ann Dunn / Facebook & Granada Reports

Tributes have been pouring in for the ‘gorgeous’ mum who was mauled to death by five dogs in Liverpool.

Ann Dunn, sixty-five, died after being attacked by five American bulldogs in a property on St. Brigids Crescent, Vauxhall.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics on Monday October 3rd at around 4:25pm. However, Ann’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced as dead at the scene.

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Officers also confirmed that a thirty-one-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

Following the news of her death, people who knew Ann have paid their own tributes to the mum and grandmother on social media.

One person wrote on Facebook: “RIP gorgeous lady, still can’t believe it Ann. Had some good times with you I will never forget.”

She added: “I am all so heartbroken for you kids and family right now. Don’t want to even think how they feeling… So happy I got [sic] have old chat with you on Friday even though it was only for 10 minutes, keeping looking over your family.”

Another social media user added: “Heart breaking thinking of all the family, devastated for yous all. R.I.P lovely Ann.”

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Liverpool John Moores University, where Ann worked as a cleaner, also paid tribute to their ‘hard-working and dedicated’ employee.

They said: “The university community is absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic loss and to lose Ann in this way is just heart-breaking. Ann was hard-working and dedicated and had so many friends across the organisation. It’s just awful and she will be terribly missed.

“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and loved-ones.”

Detective Inspector Katie Coote added: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

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Man arrested after woman killed by ‘five dogs’ in Liverpool

The dogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Granada Reports & BBC Breakfast

A man has been arrested after a woman was killed after she was attacked by five dogs in a house in Liverpool.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics yesterday (Monday October 3rd) after reports a sixty-three-year-old woman had been attacked by the animals inside a property down St. Brigid’s Crescent in Kirkdale.

The woman, who is yet to be formally identified, died at the scene following the attack at around 4.25pm. 

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

A thirty-one-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog deemed to be dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing and a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

Detective Inspector Katie Coote said: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on Twitter. Alternatively, they can be contacted via telephone on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 22000731247.

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