Inside Out East - 13/12/2010
The Big Freeze
As the cold weather continues, with the chance of sub zero temperatures across the region, we spend the week at Weatherquest, the independent forecasters in Norwich. Jim Bacon shows us how predictions are made, why it is so hard to get it right, and why the freeze is continuing. We meet the people across the East who are so affected by the cold that they rely on personalised forecasts from the team. And of course, we discover how true the predictions turn out to be.
Hunt for Nessie
Simon Dinsdale has spent his entire working life looking for evidence. As an Essex Police officer he has helped track down major criminals including Steve Wright, who was convicted for killing five young women in Ipswich. But there's one case that he's still trying to solve: the mystery of the Loch Ness monster. Simon's father's footage of the monster 50 years ago made him one of the most famous hunters of them all. The RAF analysed the film and concluded it was not a boat or submarine. Their only conclusion was that it could be some kind of unknown animate object. Half a century on, Simon is still convinced it's the real deal.
Simon Dinsdale is a tough detective whose career has been based on fact and uncovering proof. He is adamant that he himself has seen the monster twice, and is in no doubt it exists. He is determined to convince people his father's evidence proves Nessie's existence.
Acute Oak Decline
Counties across the East are in danger of losing their oak trees.
Mighty and majestic, the oak tree is an intrinsic symbol of British history and culture. Ancient oaks are ecological treasures because they provide unique habitats for plants, insects, birds and mammals.
Acute oak decline, which destroys leaf growth by causing the bark to 'bleed', is spreading and wiping out many oaks.
Foresters at Gipping Wood in Suffolk are felling oaks that have the early signs of the disease in a bid to stop it spreading.
Scientists at Forest Research, a division of the Forestry Commission, are investigating. Dr Sandra Denman, investigation leader, said: "The current thinking is that bacterium is likely to have a key role in causing stem bleeding."
The disease causes trees to 'bleed' black fluid from lesions in the bark before gradually destroying leaf growth, leading to death.
Peter Goodwin of Woodland Heritage is extremely worried: "We're looking at a disease that has the potential to change our landscape even more than Dutch elm disease, and not enough is being done about it."
Oaks take 500 years to mature so, once lost, cannot be replaced overnight.