Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) will be out and about at popular waterside spots this Bank Holiday Weekend to encourage people to safely enjoy themselves in and around the water.
With an extended weekend coming up alongside warmer weather, more people may be thinking of heading to water beauty spots across the county. And in recent weeks the Fire Service has been made aware of young people choosing to swim in spots of open water such as at Pitsford Reservoir and other areas in Northamptonshire.
NFRS is reminding people of the dangers that open water swimming can pose and the need to keep yourself safe. Even in warm weather, open water can be extremely cold and dangerous. While the sun may be out, water can still be below 15 degrees Celsius, and this can be enough to put your body into cold water shock and increase the risks of drowning.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe while swimming in the open water and avoid any incidents:
- Get to know where you are swimming and check the condition before going in
- Make sure you are properly equipped and beware of the cold
- Make sure someone knows where you have gone and why, and that you have the means to call for help, especially in remote locations
- Take note of local safety advice and respect the countryside, landowners and other users
- Download the what3words app on your phone so you can give specific location advice to emergency services if you get into trouble
- If you get stuck in the water with cold body shock, try and float on your back in a star shape and allow the shock to pass. Do not try and fight against it
- If you see another person or animal in the water, you should NOT enter water yourself to rescue them. Call 999 and ask for the fire service immediately
- In most cases an animal will make it back to safety, sadly this is not always the case for an owner
- Try and throw a floating device such as a throw line or an inflatable to help any people who are struggling in the water
Darren Carson, Prevention Team Leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The weather is looking like it will be nice at the weekend, but taking part in unsupervised open water swimming is not worth the risk that it can potentially cause. There are plenty of supervised open water locations in the county that are safer to use, and these can be found online.
“Our crews will be out and about this weekend at some of the known open water swimming spots in Northamptonshire to promote water safety. And our Prevention Team is also heading to local schools and colleges to educate young people about the pitfalls of swimming in open water when unsupervised, and we hope that this will help to prevent any serious incidents occurring.”
For even more water safety tips, head to our dedicated section at www.northantsfire.gov.uk/safety/waterandboatsafety
08 April 2022
Get ready to meet a delivery robot, try out an e-scooter and swim with dolphins in Virtual Reality at Merged Futures 4, the fourth annual tech innovation showcase event organised by Digital Northants.
Merged Futures returns to the award-winning Learning Hub at the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus on Friday 17 June 2022 and, as with all Digital Northants events, it’s free to attend.
A celebration of Northamptonshire's innovators, educators and entrepreneurs, the event brings together people from different sectors interested in digital, tech and innovation to share and spark ideas.
It’s also an opportunity for the business community to discover some of the University of Northampton's innovative teaching methods, the skills developed by students and the potential to partner and collaborate with the University in different fields.
Cllr David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive member for Growth and Regeneration, said: “I’m delighted to see this flagship digital event taking place for the fourth year in a row – showcasing the digital talent on offer locally.
“This is an excellent collaboration between the public and private sectors and an exciting way of stimulating connections to drive forward the economy and find creative solutions to a range of issues.”
Cllr David Howes, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive member for Rural Communities and Localism, said: “The digital economy is so important for rural areas both in terms of driving prosperity and connecting communities. I’m proud that this authority can play a part in supporting such a worthwhile initiative.”
Cllr Lizzy Bowen, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: “Our central location within the UK has made Northamptonshire a place to innovate and do business throughout the ages.
“We’re well connected, home to inventors and entrepreneurs and events like these bring them together to ensure Northamptonshire remains at the heart of the UK economy for decades to come.”
John Sinclair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, said: “The experiences of the past two years have shown the value of digital connectivity to all of our working and private lives.
"The University is proud to host the Digital Northampton Merged Futures conference again this year, bringing together industry and academia to look at new applications of digital technologies in industry, transport, business, culture and more. We look forward to wide-ranging presentations and demonstrations from University and industry colleagues across a range of disciplines."
In the exhibition space, a wide range of local organisations will demonstrate their work, from the use of Virtual Reality technology in healthcare to how the Internet of Things can boost wellbeing. There will be an advice hub for business owners to explore how they can translate the technology on display into their own organisations.
There will be plenty to inspire the next generation of digital and tech talent, including 20 sessions taking place throughout the day on topics as varied as setting up a new games design company, how to get ahead in digital marketing and the Chester House Estate's future plans to bring their Roman Town to life.
It all takes place on Friday 17 June 2022 from 10am to 3:30pm and includes a buffet lunch.
14 April 2022
After the 24-hour bus lane camera in Weedon Road, St James was switched off in December 2021, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) has now been passed changing its operational hours to the morning rush hour.
Motorists can now only be fined if they use the bus lane between the hours of 7:30am and 9:30am, Monday to Saturday.
Cllr Phil Larratt, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for environment, transport, highways and waste, said: "We need to make sure the way is clear for public transport, now more than ever.
"But I think it is a sign of strength that this council was able to listen, admit something wasn’t quite right, and make changes accordingly."
The new TRO follows a public consultation on the scheme last autumn which received a total of 2,752 responses from residents, businesses, and local organisations.
The feedback received showed that half of all respondents were in favour of the Weedon Road/St James’ Road bus lane continuing to be enforced to some degree, but nearly two-thirds of those thought it should be limited to morning peak times.
Motorist are reminded they must inform DVLA if they change address, failure to do so could mean they do not receive or respond to enforcement correspondence, which in turn could lead to instructions being issued to collection agents / bailiffs.
Anyone who feels they received a fine unfairly should make use of the appeals procedure promptly.
14 April 2022
With the population of West Northamptonshire set to grow by seven per cent by 2030, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is consulting on core themes of a new Housing Strategy.
The strategy will be the first encompassing the whole of West Northamptonshire and will replace the housing strategies agreed by the former district and borough councils.
Proposals for the four core themes of the strategy are: delivering homes people need and can afford, to improve the quality of housing services, to allow residents to live safe, independent and active lives, and to support the growth of sustainable communities.
Cllr Adam Brown, WNC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure, said: “Housing is one of the most important political issues in the country right now, and we recognise just how vital it is to put together a Housing strategy that will enable residents of West Northamptonshire to find the homes they want and need.
“It’s not just about building new houses and making sure people aren’t homeless, having a safe and stable home impacts education, health, employment, and life chances. Good housing is an essential part of a happy and cohesive society and it is a key priority of West Northamptonshire Council"
For each of the core themes residents are being asked: if they think the right draft themes have been identified, their suggested priorities, and whether the council is missing anything out.
Results of the consultation will feed into the drafting of the new Housing Strategy.
To take part on the consultation, visit the WNC Citizen Space.
14 April 2022
The dangers of illegal tobacco have been highlighted after hundreds of packets of illicit cigarettes were uncovered during an inspection at a Northampton shop.
Officers from Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and HM Revenue and Customs seized the cigarettes together with a number of tobacco pouches after finding them in an electronic hide during a visit to UK Monopol in St Leonard’s Road, Far Cotton, on 3 March 2020.
Many of the items falsely carried the names and logos of well-known brands, while hundreds of others carried no English-language health warnings, as is required by law.
It was also discovered that a number of the cigarettes were not made with fire-safe paper, meaning they would be more likely to cause fires if left unattended.
At Northampton Magistrates’ Court today (14 April) the shop’s owner Xoshawi Kalend pleaded guilty to five offences following a successful prosecution by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC).
The charges included: possessing with intent to sell 86 packets of cigarettes carrying false branding; possessing 239 packets and four tobacco pouches that were not labelled with the proper warnings; and failing to act with due care to ensure that 36 packets of cigarettes complied with safety requirements.
Magistrates fined Mr Kalend £6,388 which included a contribution to prosecution costs and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £189.
Mr Kalend had pleaded guilty to five similar charges in July 2019 and received a financial penalty of £3,000 including a contribution to prosecution costs.
Tina Collett, Prevention Team Leader for the Home Fire Safety Team at Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: "Some illegal cigarettes are not self-extinguishable and burn at higher temperatures, making them a much higher fire risk.
"Tragically three people have died in Northamptonshire as a result of smoking related fires over the last four years. If smoking, ensure cigarettes are put right out, never smoke in bed and use a proper ashtray to extinguish a cigarette, never a wastepaper basket."
Councillor David Smith, WNC's Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, and regulatory services, said: “The import and sale of illegal tobacco causes serious harm in our communities, undermining public health, facilitating the supply of tobacco to young people, and damaging legitimate businesses which are unable to compete.
"It also deprives the UK of vital revenue which could be used to fund essential public services.
"The Trading Standards team at West Northamptonshire Council take a very tough stance on the issue, and I hope this prosecution sends a strong message that if shopkeepers deal in illegal tobacco, they should expect to face legal action."
People can help stop the harm caused by illegal tobacco by reporting its sale to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.