The classic tracks of the Scottish Borders and Kielder Forest will once again be reverberating to the sound of rally cars when the annual Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally gets underway from Jedburgh on Saturday 5th April 2008 .

Comprising round two of the popular 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship, as well as the opening round of the clubman-based ANCRO Rally Challenge, the organising team has been hard at work securing the best stages available for the event which follows a similar format to last year’s successful venture and sees Harwood Forest once again incorporated as well as a centralised service area at the Otterburn Airstrips.

With the National ‘A’ event set for seven stages totalling around sixty miles, and the supporting National ‘B’ rally offering forty-five miles over six stages, both with minimum road mileage, demand for entries is bound to be high so the message from the organising Whickham and District Motor Club and Hawick and Border Car Club once again is ‘book early to avoid disappointment!’

The organisers are also planning a ‘Mini BCR’ to allow novice crews the opportunity of experiencing forest rallying at a subsidised cost. This is expected to comprise two stages within the Harwood complex, totalling around fifteen miles.

As well as the ANCRO-organised 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship, the National ‘A’ event will incorporate qualifying rounds of The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and Cup, the Subaru Group N Trophy and a number of regional championships. Regulations will be posted out to registered competitors on or just after Monday February 11th whereby they will be also available on the official website as well as a downloadable entry form at or by calling Secretary of the Meeting Steve Nesworthy on 0191 529 0634 or 07773 420666.

BWEA the body representing the UK wind industry today responded to comments in the media regarding Ministry of Defence (MOD) objections to wind farm planning applications.

MOD regularly object to new wind farm planning applications – many wind farm developers have been concerned that they were acting on exaggerated fears of the likely impact of turbines on RADAR. Wind farms are just one of a number of large surface level objects that are picked up by RADAR.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive said “The technology already exists to allow RADAR operators to distinguish between flying planes and wind turbines as used in places like Denmark.

‘The technical issues are not insurmountable but the industry has been frustrated by 11th hour objections and inconsistent advice from the MOD. What we need is a problem solving approach to individual applications.’

The Prime Minister personally committed the government to working with industry to find a mutually acceptable solution in his speech to the World Wildlife Fund last November. BWEA has been working with officials from MOD, the Cabinet Office and BERR to resolve issues and hopes to see significant progress soon.

McCaffery added “With a third of the UK’s electricity supply retiring over the next 15 years securing Britain’s energy sources is a top priority. In the future Britain will increasingly have to balance national security and energy security issues if we are not to become over dependent on imported gas from unstable regions of the world.”

RNID Northern Ireland is calling for people in Strabane to volunteer their time and knowledge to support a local project helping people adjust to life wearing a hearing aid.

The community-based project, run by RNID NI, the charity representing the 219,000 deaf and hard of hearing people in Northern Ireland, advises new hearing aid users on how to get the best performance from their aids.

Volunteers will be trained to check that hearing aids are working properly and show users how to carry out basic maintenance such as replacing tubing and batteries.

RNID NI Outreach Development Officer Maria Boyle said: “We’d be delighted to hear from volunteers interested in the rewarding experience of providing vital support and helping improve the everyday lives of new hearing aid users in Strabane.

“Perhaps you wear a hearing aid yourself and could tap into your own knowledge and experiences to pass on handy hints to new users in your area? We look forward to talking with you about the volunteering opportunities available at the project and how you can help hearing aid users reconnect with family, friends and the community.”

Where possible, hours will be negotiable to suit the needs of volunteers and full training and expenses will be provided.

RNID Northern Ireland’s hearing aid project in Strabane is run in partnership with the Western Health and Social Care Trust, audiology services and social service teams. The project also receives funding from the Big Lottery.

Members of the public who would like more information about volunteering for the project can contact Maria Boyle on telephone 02871 374 619, textphone 02871 377 323, or e-mail

February 2008
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