Archive for February, 2009

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Rugby: Hill lets fans confront players

February 10, 2009

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill wants his players to understand what relegation from the Guinness Premiership would mean to the club’s supporters.

He’s organised a meal this evening to which a number of supporters’ groups are invited, as well as the club’s playing squad.

Bristol face Newcastle Falcons at the Memorial Stadium on Friday night, and defeat could effectively relegate them from the Premiership.

Hill believes he could either try to relax his squad before the crucial game, or “lay it on thick” with the responsibility and repurcussions of relegation, and has chosen the latter.

Hear Richard Hill’s comments on Bristol’s supporters below.

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Skis, Snowboards and Sleds on Brandon Hill

February 5, 2009

Hundreds of Bristolians have taken advantage of the heavy snow in Bristol to practice their skiing and snowboarding on two of the city’s steepest pistes – Brandon Hill and Ashton Court

On Brandon Hill, people were using everything from professional ski and snowboard gear to tea trays and inflatable dinghys to hurtle down the slopes.

One snowboarder told us: “Loads of people have come up with their snowboards, building ramps and jumping off. I took the day off work and told my boss I was snowed in. I hope they’re not listening to Original!”

Another, who was using an inflatable dinghy to get down the hill, said: “It says “not for swimming pool use” but I thought I’d do it anyway. It’s fairly safe. I didn’t get all the way to the bottom though, I crashed into a tree!”

There was some debate over whether Ashton Court or Brandon Hill was a better skiing and snowboarding location. One skier told us, “Brandon Hill is better for us because it’s closer, but Ashton Court is bigger.” Others were going to both places.

Paramedics though have warned of the possible dangers of skiing and snowboarding. A fifteen year old girl crashed into a tree in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire and had to be taken to Frenchay hospital with an ankle injury.

Paramedic Pete Sadler, who treated her, said “Although I would urge the public to keep enjoying themselves please be mindful of the location you choose to sledge, be careful around trees and fences and when near roads. Dress warmly and keep safe.”

Below: Fun on Brandon Hill

Fun on Brandon Hill

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Aussie visitor shocked by rude Bristol bus driver

February 4, 2009

An Australian visitor to Bristol says she’s “shocked” at the rudeness of the city’s bus drivers after a First driver refused to help her find her stop.

Amy Wilshire had only been in the UK two days when she tried to get a bus from Brentry Hill to the Centre on Monday.

She told us: “I was trying to get to the centre, to St Augustine’s. But having been in the city only two days I had no idea where I was going.

“I asked the driver once I had bought my ticket if he could tell me where the stop was. But he simply laughed at me and said no. I thought he was joking at first but it turned out he was serious.”

Amy was helped by a female passenger who took pity on her and showed her where to get off the bus. But she says it was not the kind of welcome she was expecting.

Amy said: “I was really taken aback. I was very shocked that someone wouldn’t take five seconds to help someone else out who was new to the country.”

First told us that drivers were not required to help able-bodied passengers find stops. But a spokeswoman said: “We’d hope that staff would do what they could to be helpful to passengers where they can.”

She added: “”We were sorry to hear this visitor to Bristol was disappointed by the service she received. If she would like to contact us directly with further details we would be happy to look into it.”

Below: Martin Jones’ report on the story

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Baby, baby, where does our waste go?

February 1, 2009

Interesting press call this week. The council wanted to reassure Bristolians their waste wasn’t being piled up as various newspaper scare stories have reported (this is one example among many).

Councillor Judith Price’s argument was that the terms of Bristol’s contract with SITA mean that, whatever happens to the global market in recyclables, our stuff is not being stockpiled. SITA, she said, are a big enough player to find markets anywhere for the stuff we put out. Certainly she said, Bristol council tax payers are not paying extra if the market price drops or, in the worst case, material cannot be sold at all. She was adamant the council contract with SITA is “tight” enough to protect us from market fluctuations.

She also told me there had been a slight drop in the amount that people put out for recycling over November and December, but the press office claimed this was typical and seasonal. My story therefore was to report the council’s rebuttal of the recent newspaper reports. I

was interested to see that the Evening Post‘s angle on this was to report that a large amount of our stuff is sent abroad for recycling. I’m not quite sure this angle is relevant. Don’t we all know there is a global market for recycled material? Obviously it would be preferable to have it all recycled in the UK (it would be much greener) but unless the CO2 emissions from moving the stuff are greater than the CO2 and methane emissions from putting it in landfill, is this a scandal? We currently bus our garden waste down to Dorset.

European waste markets are set in tons. i.e. we avoid fines by keeping a mass of stuff out of the ground. Until European targets are set by greenhouse gas avoidance, councils will continue to measure their success by tonnage diverted.