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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 196

Date:- 17 April 2005

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The Young Environmental Journalist of the Year Award

THE Earthwatch Institute (Europe) and BBC Wildlife Magazine invite young journalists 'in the making' between the ages of 16 to 25 to apply for the Young Environmental Journalist of the Year Award. The award acknowledges an exceptional piece of journalistic work by a young person, which tackles issues relevant to environmental conservation. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2005.

The award winner will spend up to two weeks on an international Earthwatch field research project where s/he will work alongside leading scientists and play a direct role in helping to conserve the environment. The winning article will also be published in the November issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine. 

"This award is designed to inspire the next generation of environmental writers at a time when the world really needs excellent journalism to raise awareness of important environmental issues and to demonstrate how relevant they are to everyone's lives."
said Eve Carpenter, Director of Programme Operations for Earthwatch Institute (Europe). 

Articles of 1,000 words are welcome from young journalists between the ages of 16 and 25 who are knowledgeable about current environmental issues, objective and accurate in their research; and creative enough to capture and hold the interest of a reader.

This award is kindly funded by the Max Nicholson Fund, named after the late conservationist, ornithologist, writer and civil servant, Max Nicholson who in his lifetime helped found Earthwatch Institute (Europe) and WWF, and inspired nature reserves and ecological research around the world. 

Among the judges will be journalist Richard Donkin, Zac Goldsmith, editor of the Ecologist, as well as James Fair, environment editor of BBC Wildlife. For more information about the award and conditions of entry, pick up the May issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine at all good newsagents or visit:-

http:-//, call Earthwatch on 01865 318 820, or visit:- http:-// 

The award winner will be announced in the November issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine. 


CANCER inducing chemicals such as tobacco smoke have been shown to cause fatal changes within the DNA of human body cells. The findings of new research, published this week in the prestigious scientific magazine 'Nature', demonstrate that the chemicals damage parts of the DNA within susceptible tissue cells. Some damaged cells self-destruct while others go on to cause cancer. In addition, the study illustrates the fact that the changes take place much earlier than previously thought.

"We have identified one of the major mechanisms involved in the development of cancer.

This has enormous implications in the understanding of this devastating disease. It is particularly important for lung cancer patients whose condition currently is very rarely diagnosed before symptoms are well advanced. The findings are a significant contribution to research into methods of early detection and, hence, more successful treatment."
says Professor John Field, Director of The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which partially funded the research.

Scientists from the Foundation participated in the international research programme which investigated the very early steps of cancer development. Studies were conducted at the University of Athens Medical School; Democritos National Centre of Scientific Research, Athens; Wistar Institute, Philadelphia; Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, as well as the Foundation's own Liverpool-based research laboratories.

The scientists found that continuous exposure to tobacco smoke increases the chances that cells will be damaged, thereby causing a pre-cancerous condition that can lead to cancer. 

Their tests confirmed that some humans are more susceptible to DNA damage than others and that some body tissue is also more susceptible. Cells from tissues such as the colon and skin, for example, did not show the DNA changes. In addition, the study identified that early lung cancer lesions (pre-cancerous damage to cells) are virtually impossible to spot using current detection methods.

One of the authors of the research findings, Dr Lakis Liloglou, Head of the Foundation's Molecular Biomarkers Research Group, said:- "Our study further emphasises the need to detect lung cancer much earlier. Chemotherapy can be far more effective in the early stages of lung cancer and the side effects of the treatment are minimised."

Mike Unger, Chief Executive of The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, added:- "Clearly, this research is a very important step in the process of studying cancer's development and finding better, earlier methods of detection. It also shows that many more people could be saved from cancer deaths, particularly lung cancer, if more funding was available for further research into the early detection of this devastating disease.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK and it is curable if caught early - yet only three per cent of government funding into cancer research is spent on lung cancer. Today's research report shows that far more can, and should, be done."

Positive Inspector's report for borough's UDP

THE long running debate over the future of green fields around Warrington and its villages looks set to be drawn to a happy conclusion for local communities. After many years of uncertainty, the Council's proposals for the designation of a tight green belt boundary around the town and local villages such as Lymm, Culcheth, Burtonwood and Croft - outlined in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), have received unreserved support.

The positive news is contained in the recently received report of the Inspector who held a public inquiry into objections to the Council's Draft Unitary Development Plan between January and November 2004. 

Local communities at Thelwall, Penketh, Peel Hall, and throughout the borough, joined with the Council to defend its green belt proposals against objections from those seeking to have additional land allocated for development, whether in the immediate future or in the longer term.

The Inspector has also endorsed the Council's approach to the development of the important Omega site, subject to additional safeguards to ensure that traffic impacts in the local area and on the adjoining motorway network are given full consideration.

Cllr Terry O'Neill, the Council's Executive Member for Sustainable Regeneration, said:- "Such a ringing endorsement from the Inspector is a fitting reward for all the time and effort put in by local communities and the Council over a number of years. It has put an end to the uncertainty that has dogged the Council's attempts to get the security of an adopted development plan for the borough. Returning all our safeguarded land back to green belt status is incredibly important and, now our countryside is protected, we can continue to concentrate on regenerating the older areas of the town and prime investment sites such as Omega, which will have huge potential to bring about greater opportunities and employment to all areas of our town, but particularly to our inner wards. It is vital we ensure that people in these communities, including skilled workers and businesses, are given the opportunity to reap the rewards from major schemes such as this and we are committed to ensuring they can do so." 

However, a further proposed employment site at Barleycastle Trading Estate does not find favour with the Inspector and he recommends that it should remain in the green belt. 

He also recommends that a policy to guide further development within the existing power station complex at Fiddlers Ferry should be retained in the plan.

The Inspector's recommendations will now be considered by the Council's Executive Board, before final modifications to the Unitary Development Plan are published for consultation - the final step leading to the adoption of a statutory development plan for the borough.

Copies of the Inspector's full report and additional information is to be made publicly available by the Council at its main town centre locations and at all libraries in the borough from next Monday (April 18). 

It can also be viewed on the Council's website:-


2 Liverpool nurseries, now owned by Just Learning, have received glowing reports after the national inspection body Ofsted assessed their care. The Wonderland nurseries at Childwall Road and Northdale Road were inspected recently for the first time since being bought by Just Learning.

The Wonderland Childwall nursery has places for 55 children aged from 6 months to 4 years and employs 15 staff, all of whom have an early years qualification. The report highlights 'the welcoming atmosphere' of the nursery and praises 'the safe and secure environment'. Staff are 'very attentive and enthusiastic about children's play' and 'much attention is paid to the babies routines'. The nursery's environment, administration, healthy eating regime and parental involvement also all received positive mentions.

The nursery at Northdale Road, which offers places for 92 children, is 'secure', with a 'fully enclosed garden for outdoor play'. The 'environment is warm and supportive' and 'children are joining in activities and having fun.' The report highlights the 'caring' staff who 'manage children's behaviour so their experiences are happy and positive.' The nursery's partnership with parents is praised and the report notes that 'parents are happy with the staff's approachable manner, children's care and play experiences.'

Jonathan Bell, Operations Director of Just Learning, said:- "These glowing Ofsted reports confirm that Just Learning has two of the best nurseries in Liverpool. It's great to see the hard work and professionalism of the staff independently verified by Ofsted. These are the first Ofsted care inspections for the nurseries since joining Just Learning and they both highlight the fact that our children in Liverpool receive very high quality care."

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