Man in hospital after being knocked off bike in crash with car

The cyclist was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Kingseat Avenue, Grangemouth © Google Maps 2020
Kingseat Avenue, Grangemouth

A man is in hospital after being knocked from his bike in a collision with a car.

The 22-year-old cyclist was reportedly struck by the vehicle on Kingseat Avenue, Grangemouth, at around 3.40pm on Tuesday.

Emergency services arrived on the scene and the man was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 3.40pm on Tuesday, September 14, police were called to a report of a 22-year-old male cyclist being struck by a car in Kingseat Avenue, Grangemouth.

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“Emergency services attended and he was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.”


PCR testing for travellers ‘essential to track new variants’

One of Scotland’s leading epidemiologists has backed the decision to keep PCR testing in place for international travellers.

Stefan Cristian Cioata via Getty Images
Those arriving in Scotland will still be required to take a pre-departure test.

One of Scotland’s leading epidemiologists has backed the Scottish Government’s decision to keep PCR testing in place for international travellers.

The UK Government has announced it will allow vaccinated travellers to replace the PCR test currently required on day two of their return to England with a cheaper lateral flow test from next month. They will also no longer have to take a pre-departure test before returning.

But those arriving north of the border will still be required to take the pre-departure test – including from non-red list destinations – before returning, even if they are fully vaccinated, and the day two test will have to be a PCR.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday, Professor Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, said she fully supports the Scottish Government’s decision to keep the testing regime in place.

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She said: “Letting go of PCR testing is letting go of one of the main ways we would identify new variants, and be able to even know if it was coming in, if it was being seated.

“And secondly, to be able to catch positive cases that we have tried to control and keep the numbers as low as we can and the pressure off the NHS.”

Prof Sridhar also said the Government needs to make PCR testing more affordable and accessible for those travelling to and from Scotland.

She said: “It is important to keep the testing in place because I was looking at some of the numbers yesterday and of the people arriving into the UK – and again, these are people who need to have a negative lateral flow test before flying – about 400 people are arriving testing positive after being fully vaccinated and about 1,000 people are testing positive for being unvaccinated.

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“If we’re not testing for those people coming in, they wouldn’t even know they’re positive and need to isolate, nor would we be able to sequence those to know if there’s a new variant coming in, which is one of the main things we are concerned about going into winter.”

The Scottish Government also confirmed in a statement on Friday that it will end its current traffic light system for international travel.

From October 4, the green and amber lists will merge but the red list will remain.

Current amber list rules – which allow fully vaccinated people to avoid isolating – will be the default for non-red list countries.

Vaccinations that took place in 17 countries including Canada, Australia, Israel and New Zealand will now be regarded as eligible under the rules, joining jabs in UK, the EU, the USA and the European Free Trade Association.

Eight countries – including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives – are also being removed from the red list with effect from 4am on Wednesday.

Travellers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel from that date.


Thousands taking part in largest Orange march since Covid lockdown

More than 5000 people are expected to take part in the processions through Glasgow on Saturday.

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Thousands of marchers are taking part in Orange Lodge processions through Glasgow in the largest gathering of Order members since the coronavirus pandemic.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne, the last two years.

Earlier this week, Glasgow’s police chief warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.

More than 5000 people are taking part in the marches on Saturday which are expected to see members of local groups converge at Glasgow Green.

‘We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.’

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland
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The marches will be accompanied by a large policing operation working to “reduce disruption to the wider community”.

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander of Greater Glasgow Police Division, said: “We will however not tolerate offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder and such behaviours, will be dealt with swiftly and proportionately.

“Where this is not possible during the event we will launch follow-up investigations as necessary.”

Saturday sees 24 individual Lodges taking various routes through Glasgow some of which will pass Catholic places of worship.

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Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.

Chief superintendent Sutherland said Police Scotland was aware of the protests at particular locations the processions will pass.

He said: “We continue to work with these groups to ensure their rights are protected and would again urge everyone to show tolerance, and respect the rights of others.”

Call It Out a campaign group against anti-Catholic bigotry, said it objected to a small number of routes which pass churches.

Cowcaddens Orange and Purple District 11 will pass St Theresa of Lisieux Roman Catholic Church on Saracen Street with around 200 participants.

St Benedict’s Catholic Church will be passed by the Greater Easterhouse Truth Defenders District 17.

Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57 will pass by St Laurence Catholic Church in Drumchapel on Kinfauns Drive.

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When approaching all music ceases and must remain silent while services are in progress.

Call It Out said it would hold protests in opposition to the marches at sites along certain routes.

A spokesperson said: “Call it Out will organise peaceful vigils outside all Catholic Churches affected…”

‘We look forward to the pageantry, the colour and music and welcome the supporters of the Loyal Orange Institution who turn out to watch and enjoy the spectacle.’

Spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland

The city’s police boss said the force was a “rights-based organisation” that put a commitment to upholding human rights at its heart.

He said: “This means we are committed to supporting the human rights of individuals and groups who wish to assemble, balanced against the rights of the wider community and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

“We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.”

A statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “The grand master Jim McHarg and Grand Lodge executive officers congratulate the County Grand Lodge of Glasgow on reaching the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in Glasgow.

“Jim McHarg stated he looks forward to a peaceful and successful parade as Glasgow’s Orange family celebrate their heritage and culture.

“We look forward to the pageantry, the colour and music and welcome the supporters of the Loyal Orange Institution who turn out to watch and enjoy the spectacle.

“Our message to everyone is keep safe and enjoy your day.”


Opening hours for pubs, clubs and restaurants extended during COP26

Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour when the climate conference is held.

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Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour.

Pubs, clubs and restaurants in Glasgow will be able to stay open for an extra hour during COP26.

Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour when the United Nations climate conference is held at the SEC.

The decision applies to venues with a premises licence allowing the sale of alcohol on site — and will run from October 31 to November 12.

Board members made the decision on Friday in private after hearing from a Police Scotland representative.

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A report presented to the board revealed: “The Licensing Board may, if it considers it appropriate to do so in connection with a special event of local or national significance, make a determination extending licensed hours by such period as the board may specify in the determination.”

Around 30,000 delegates from across the world are expected to arrive in Glasgow for the major climate talks, which have been billed as the world’s “last best chance” to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis by US climate envoy John Kerry.

The Licensing Board report added: “As well as a curated programme of events intended to complement the main COP26 programme, there will be various fringe events across the hospitality and events sector within the city in order to encourage businesses and residents to get involved in the climate change conversation.

“COP26 presents an opportunity for an animated and vibrant ‘COP City’ to promote a successful conference, a successful host nation and a safe and secure event.”

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Denise Hamilton, from the neighbourhoods and sustainability team, recently told a meeting of the city’s local licensing forum that the council hoped the event would “benefit hospitality and licensed trade”.

She said a “difficult balance” between helping “businesses to thrive” and preventing the spread of Covid-19 would need to be found.

“We want Glasgow to benefit from having COP in the city, but we also want to ensure that our businesses and residents are not put at risk.”

By Local Democracy reporter Drew Sandelands


Cooking oil fuels ‘perfect flight’ from London to Glasgow

Aviation chiefs say flight from Heathrow to Glasgow produced 62% fewer emissions than same journey in 2010.

Glasgow Airport via Contributed
The plane was taken to the runaway by an electric vehicle.

Recycled cooking oil helped fuel what has been described as the “perfect flight” between London and Scotland.

British Airways (BA) said the 52-minute passenger service from Heathrow to Glasgow Airport was “carbon neutral” due a combination of sustainable fuel, an optimised flightpath, electric vehicles and CO2 offsetting.

Compared to the same journey in 2010, the flight produced 62% fewer emissions, according to British Airways and air traffic controllers at NATS.

Glasgow Airport bosses and BA said the flight was designed to demonstrate progress being made by the aviation industry to cut emissions as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for crunch climate talks at COP26.

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However, environmental campaigners described the idea of a “perfect flight” as “complete fantasy”.

What made it the ‘perfect flight’?

  • Sustainable fuel made from recycled waste cooking oil was mixed with traditional jet fuel to meet industry standards;
  • The plane was an Airbus A320neo, which is said to be the quietest and most efficient aircraft in the BA fleet for short-haul journeys;
  • It has lighter seats and catering trollies, while in-flight manuals and magazines have been replaced by digital downloads, reducing fuel use, BA said;
  • The plane was pushed back at Heathrow using an electric vehicle, while only one of its engines was used to taxi to the runway, halving the amount of power used.
  • Air traffic controllers at NATS directed the plane on its climb and descent, to avoid levelling off and unnecessary fuel burn;
  • Computer systems worked out the best altitude to make the journey more efficient.

The passenger flight left Heathrow at 10.36am on Tuesday morning, before landing in Glasgow at 11.28am.

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Glasgow Airport, said: “This flight demonstrates the progress the industry has made during the last decade and how we can work collectively to decarbonise aviation.

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“As one of the UK’s largest airport groups, we are committed to achieving net-zero by mid 2030s. This involves decarbonising our own infrastructure, including the roll out of fixed electrical ground power, which is powered using 100% renewable energy sources.”

‘Real progress’

British Airways said the experiment – which involved fuel giant BP and plane manufacturer Airbus – offered a “glimpse into the future” of commercial aviation.

BA chairman Sean Doyle said: “By working together with our industry partners, we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago. This marks real progress in our efforts to decarbonise and shows our determination to continue innovating.”

‘Complete fantasy’

Campaign group Aviation Environment Federation reacted with scepticism to the airline and airport’s claims.

Policy director Cait Hewitt said: “The idea that we’re anywhere near a ‘perfect flight’ is a complete fantasy. The planes of today are noisy, polluting and carbon-intensive and the industry doesn’t yet have the technology on hand to solve any of those problems.

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“Turning used cooking oil into aviation fuel might help reduce waste and recycle some carbon, but once it’s burned, it makes just as much CO2 as kerosene.

“And there really isn’t enough chip fat around to power the world’s aviation fleet.”


Girl, nine, vows to walk 22 miles to help refugees live in Scotland

Lucy Johnstone from Dalbeattie is taking part in the British Red Cross Miles for Refugees fundraising campaign.

British Red Cross via PA Ready
Lucy was inspired to help after reading novel by former refugee.

A nine-year-old girl is to walk 22 miles in an effort to help refugees gain the legal right to live in Scotland.

Lucy Johnstone, from Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, is taking part in the British Red Cross Miles for Refugees fundraising campaign.

Money raised will help people through the asylum application process and prevent them from falling into poverty.

She said she was inspired to help after reading the graphic novel, When Stars Are Scattered, by former refugee Omar Mohamed.

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She said: “(Omar was) just a kid like me when he and his younger brother Hassan went to live in a refugee camp in Kenya. I then learnt more about refugees all over the world and I really want to help them.”

As well as her fundraising efforts, Lucy has prepared bags of her own clothes for three children arriving from Afghanistan, saying she is worried they will be surprised by Scotland’s chilly weather.

“It’s got a dressing gown in there in case they get cold,” she said.

Recent polling conducted for the British Red Cross by Opinium found the crisis in Afghanistan has made almost two fifths (38%) of Scots more sympathetic towards refugees.

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The research also shows 50% of Scots would welcome refugees into the area they live in, and over a third (36%) would personally want to help.

Marie Hayes, Scotland director at the British Red Cross, said: “The British Red Cross is calling for a kinder, more compassionate asylum system to support people who have been forced to leave their home behind and take dangerous journeys. We believe every refugee matters.

“Clearly, the impact of Afghanistan has had a big impact on Scots. I’m delighted to be seeing so many eager to help refugees personally. By taking part in Miles for Refugees, you can show the very best of humankind.”

Book from 15th century expected to fetch up to £40,000 at auction

The mechanically printed book is being auctioned as part of the Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs sale in Edinburgh.

PA Ready via PA Ready
The publication is a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle produced in 1493.

A mechanically printed book from the 1400s is going under the hammer in Edinburgh.

The publication is a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle produced in 1493 – an account of Christian history from Creation to the 1500s – and is expected to fetch between £30,000 and £40,000.

It was written in Latin by physician and humanist, Hartmann Schedel and was later translated into German.

The book, which has been in the same family since at least the 1860s, is being auctioned as part of the Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs sale on Wednesday September 22.

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The invention of the movable-type printing press in 1440s, by Johannes Gutenberg, made printing much faster and cheaper: instead of using individually carved wooden printing blocks for each page, or even writing text by hand, he used movable metal letters, allowing mass production.

The Nuremberg Chronicle, funded by two merchants, Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, was one of the books to benefit from this European printing revolution.

The auction, run by Lyon and Turnbull, will also be available to join live online.

Cathy Marsden, Lyon & Turnbull’s rare books, manuscripts and maps specialist, said: “It was a delight to see this Latin incunable, a book from the cradle of printing.

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“The advent of the mechanical printing press was rather like the creation of the internet in terms of suddenly making information via the written word much more widely accessible.

“Not only did the publication of the Nuremberg Chronicle play a hugely significant part in the history of printing, it is also a fascinating account of Christian history through the eyes of its author, combined with a vast number of elaborate illustrations.”

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Amber and green lists merge as international travel rules ‘simplified’

Scottish Government also cuts number of countries from which returning travellers are required to quarantine in a hotel.

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International travel: Scotland's 'traffic light system' is to be 'simplified'.

Scotland’s traffic light system for international travel is to be “simplified” and the number of countries from which returning travellers will be required to quarantine in a hotel is to be cut, the Scottish Government announced on Friday.

Green and amber classifications will merge from October 4 but the red list will be retained for those countries deemed to have high Covid-19 case rates or variants of concern.

And Scotland will not follow the UK Government’s decision to ease testing rules.

Those arriving north of the border will still be required to take a pre-departure test before returning – including from non-red list destinations – even if they are fully vaccinated.

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The Scottish Government will also not follow their UK counterparts in allowing vaccinated travellers to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test from the end of October.

Current amber list rules – which allow fully vaccinated people to avoid isolating – will be the default for non-red list countries.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said the changes to the system recognise “the success of global vaccination programmes”.

He said: “This is a major step but one with sensible safeguards built in recognising the success of the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme.

“The expansion of the eligible vaccinated traveller policy combined with the changes to the traffic light system will provide a welcome boost to Scotland’s tourism industry.

“However, we have concerns that the UK Government’s proposals to remove the requirement for a pre-departure test for some travellers will weaken our ability to protect the public health of Scotland’s communities. While we want to maintain a four nations approach to these matters, we need to consider urgently their implications.”

The number of countries recognised in the eligible vaccinated traveller policy (currently only UK, EU/EFTA and USA), is being expanded to recognise countries where vaccine certification meets appropriate standards.

The 17 countries added to the policy from October 4 are: Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Brunei, Taiwan, Dominica, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

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Furthermore, Bangladesh, Egypt, Kenya, the Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey will be removed from the red list at 4am on September 22.

The Scottish Government recently relaxed rules, allowing people travelling from non-red list countries to choose from a variety of private test providers.

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said Friday’s reforms are “significant” but long overdue.

He said: “Today’s announcement to overhaul international travel rules may be significant, but the reforms detailed today are what we have been urging the UK Government to implement for months.

“The outgoing traffic light system was both costly and confusing. Not only did the data show it to be ineffective in terms of protecting public health or detecting variants of concern, but it has been extremely damaging to our industry which has been on the brink for the last 18 months.

“It was inconceivable to think 2021 would be worse than 2020 for aviation, however, that is the reality. Now that progress is being made to strip away the layers of complexity associated with international travel, we urge the Scottish Government to adopt a four-nations approach without delay.

“Moving forward we need government to work with the industry to help rebuild passenger confidence and, more importantly, restore the connectivity we have lost.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh airport criticised the Scottish Government’s “decision to diverge yet again and further curtail Scotland’s aviation and travel industries in their recovery”.

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He said: “We are now the most restrictive country in Europe yet there is no justification or health benefit to retaining testing measures, something clinical professionals and experts have themselves said.

“This is great news for airports in Manchester and Newcastle – passengers will now travel there to avoid expensive tests and save around £100 per person, taking money out of Scotland’s economy and threatening our airline capacity.”

He added: “This will harm our recovery, impact on Scotland’s economy and cost jobs and livelihoods across the country.

“It now seems the economy boosting step previously referred to will benefit England rather than Scotland.”

Fatal accident inquiry waiting times ‘increase by a third’

The average time taken to complete an FAI has risen by more than eight months In the last year alone.

Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail via PA Ready
Jamie Greene said FAIs ‘must be conducted quickly’.

Waiting times for fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) have jumped by more than a third since last year, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said last year’s figures include five cases, each lasting five years, which have now concluded, and therefore the data is misleading.

But in response to a freedom of information request submitted by the Tories, COPFS data showed the average time taken to complete an FAI has risen by more than eight months, from 691 days in 2019-20 to 939 in 2020-21 – an increase of 36%.

The Tories said that in 2020-21 only two FAIs were completed within 12 months, and it took more than five years to conclude five inquiries. One inquiry from June 2012 was still open after almost a decade.

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COPFS said it concluded 57 FAIs in 2019-20 and 59 between April 2020 and March 2021.

The majority of FAIs are completed between 12 and 18 months, according to the data.

Responding to the figures, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said: “It is unacceptable that the families of victims should have to wait so long for closure while these inquiries move at a snail’s pace.

“Fatal accident inquiries must be conducted quickly, especially when there is cause for public concern. Nine years and counting is an outrageous length of time.

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“Just this week it was revealed that 90% of the FAIs for deaths in custody had no recommendations – meaning no lessons to prevent future deaths are being learnt.

“Strict deadlines for fatal accident inquiries, like what the Scottish Conservatives have proposed, would ensure that victims’ families are not left waiting years on end for closure.

“The SNP Government must put victims first, and put in place the deadlines needed to fix this embarrassingly slow process.”

A COPFS spokesperson said: “It would be incorrect to say that waiting times for fatal accident inquiries has increased by a third this year.

“The increase in average on 2020-21 is because the FAI into five deaths that were reported more than five years ago have concluded.

“These older cases are not representative of the whole of the work the procurator fiscal does in the investigation of deaths.

“COPFS has made significant changes to its practices and additional resources have been applied to this important area of work.

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“There has been a particular focus on clearing a backlog of cases and consequently some older FAI have concluded, and that has pushed up the average of time taken.”

Scotland continues to have highest level of Covid cases in the UK

Cases are unchanged in Scotland, but have dropped in England and Northern Ireland.

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Data from the ONS estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19 in the week to September 11.

Scotland continues to have the highest level of coronavirus cases in the UK, figures suggest.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, the second week in a row it has been at the highest level since estimates began for Scotland in last October.

This is the equivalent of around 120,800 people, the ONS said.

While the percentage of people testing positive had increased slightly (from 2.23% to 2.29%) in the week ending September 11, the rate of increase had slowed, the ONS said.

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All figures are for people living in private households and exclude hospitals and care homes.

The data also showed that around one in 80 people in England had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, down from one in 70 the previous week.

One in 80 in England is the equivalent of about 697,100 people.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus.

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Meanwhile, in Wales, around one in 60 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, up from one in 65 in the previous week.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 75, down from one in 60 in the previous week.

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