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Boat trips along the Tay between Perth and Dundee launched

May 12 2018

The first in a summer series of boat trips along the River Tay was officially launched on Friday. The return journeys between Perth and Broughty have been launched in a collaboration between Perth and Kinross Council and the Tay and Earn Trust. Bosses say the Tay is "the jewel in Perth's crown" and the venture is an exciting new way to make the most of one of the city's greatest assets. It follows the success of similar trips last year. The schedule has now been extended from May to July, offering passengers a fresh way to view Elcho Castle, Kinnoull Hill and other landmarks from the river. Shorter voyages, from the Fergusson Pontoon to Kinnoull Hill are also on offer, taking people under the Friarton Bridge and past the Willowgate Activity Centre before returning to Perth. The council and the trust are working in partnership with David Anderson Marine who will be providing the Broughty Ferry trips and Tay Maritime Action (Taymara). Perth and Kinross Council's environment, enterprise and infrastructure convener, councillor Angus Forbes, said the team were delighted to be able to offer the service this summer. "Qualified crews will provide safe access to the exciting River Tay marine environment, providing a memorable experience for all," he added. Perth and Kinross Provost Dennis Melloy said: “The Tay is an important and unique asset for Perth and improving access to it by offering boat trips is a great way to attract visitors to the area. “It is important that we continue to develop opportunities on the river. Having the pontoons in place is an important stage in continuing the delivery of the infrastructure to support this. “I hope that visitors and residents of Perth and Kinross will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity." Simon Clarke, chairman of the Tay and Earn Trust said: “This year's visitors will not only be able to explore the Activity Centre but also be able to sample the home made cakes at Willowgate Café. “The Willowgate destination continues to grow and is proud to be working with Perth and Kinross Council in introducing and re-introducing people to the jewel in Perth’s crown that is the River Tay." Due to the tidal nature of the river, the trip will run at different times throughout the day. Tickets start at £9 per adult and can be found at perthcity.co.uk/boating-on-the-tay.

UK & World

May splits up warring ministers to examine Brexit options

May 11 2018

Theresa May has divided her warring Cabinet ministers into two groups to examine the rival options for Britain’s future customs relationship with the EU.The Prime Minister has set up the working groups after a meeting of the Brexit “war cabinet” failed to agree a way forward at a crunch meeting last week, sources have confirmed.One will consider the Brexiteers’ favoured “maximum facilitation” – or “max fac” – solution, based on the use of technology to minimise the need for customs checks once the UK is outside the EU.The other will look at the “customs partnership” – thought to be the Prime Minister’s preferred option and supported by ministers who backed Remain – which would see Britain continue to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU.The “max fac” group will comprise Business Secretary Greg Clark and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley – who were both pro-Remain – and the pro-Leave Brexit Secretary David Davis.In contrast, the customs partnership will be examined by two Brexiteers – International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Environment Secretary Michael Gove – and a lone Remainer, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.The novel approach was said to have been agreed at meetings in No 10 on Thursday between Mrs May and ministers from the two sides.It came as Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Tory backbenchers, said the customs partnership proposal “seems to be running into the sand… because it practically doesn’t work”.He also warned against any extension to the transition period, currently due to stretch for 21 months following the official date of Brexit in March 2019.He told BBC2’s Daily Politics that remaining in the European customs union after 2020 would be “a dramatic failure of Government policy”.“The Prime Minister wrote an article for The Sun On Sunday just last weekend saying she was going to leave the single market and customs union,” said Mr Rees-Mogg.“I trust the Prime Minister to do what she says she will do.”


14 Premier League memes only fantasy football managers will understand

May 11 2018

With the relegation battle and top-four race looking like a foregone conclusion and the champions already crowned, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not much excitement to be had in the Premier League’s final round of fixtures.If you’re one of the millions of fantasy football managers out there however, it’s crunch time after a hard-fought season across mini-leagues – your final team selection headache and last chance to bag some points.To celebrate before the end, here are some memes made from pictures of the Premier League – accompanied by some truths only fantasy footballers will understand.1. Footballers make great puns.2. Stubbornness can hurt.3. Managers can’t be trusted.4. Time always gets away from you at least once.5. Life’s not fair.6. Think with your head not your heart.7. Players can surprise you.8. Victory can be relative.9. You will try and fail to not be competitive.10. Chips can be an irritant.11. The gameweek isn’t over until it’s over.12. Wealth can make you happy. 13. You have to find a philosophy you believe in. 14. Even the smallest victories can be taken very seriously.

UK & World

Fears for missing sea eagle after signal is lost in Aberdeenshire

May 10 2018

Gamekeepers and land managers from an Aberdeenshire estate have appealed for help in locating a sea eagle whose satellite tag was last recorded in woodland near the River Dee.Invercauld Estate, near Braemar, said its ranger and gamekeepers have been working hard to find the sea eagle whose tag last signalled on Saturday.The tag was said to be last operating within a native woodland and scots pine regeneration zone on Invercauld.Pellets are understood to have been found in the vicinity of the search, which suggest the sea eagle had been roosting there.But neither the bird nor its tag have been located within the woodland or estate. Efforts continued to find the bird on Wednesday with one other sea eagle and two golden eagles spotted but as yet, there have been no known sightings of the absent sea eagle.Angus McNicol, estate manager at Invercauld, said: “We have spent the last two days trying to locate any trace of the missing sea eagle and we will be continuing our efforts to watch the area in case there has been a technical malfunction of the tag and the sea eagle returns to roost again.“For several months our ranger has been working with the RSPB’s sea eagle project officer to track the movements of the sea eagles in our area and if the tag is no longer transmitting then it is a concern to us. “Invercauld hosts a vast range of bird species and other types of wildlife and we want to learn if any harm has come to the bird.The estate is part of the East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority and bird species include golden eagles, sea eagles, buzzards, merlin, kestrels, golden plover, curlew, lapwings and black grouse. It also works with conservation bodies including the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland on their wildcat breeding programme Mr McNicol added: “We realise that such cases where a tag stops transmitting will invariably attract comments about persecution but it is clear that gamekeepers, conservationists, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority all want to see this bird alive and well.“We would ask anyone with information that could aid the search to speak to the RSPB or ourselves immediately.”

Readers' letters

READERS’ LETTERS: Don’t rip the heart out of rural communities

May 8 2018

Sir, – Our Angus councillors are to be congratulated for rejecting the ill-founded and deeply unpopular decision by officials to close Stracathro School. The proposed closure was not based on financial concerns we were told, but on the disadvantages the pupils suffer by going to Stracathro. Judging by the 100% support for keeping the school open by present and past parents, and by the excellent record of former pupils, this reason seems flimsy. To have closed the school would have ripped out the heart of a strong rural community. This was never considered by the decision makers, and it reinforces the perception that there is a clear preference for centralisation among many employed by Angus Council. This can be shown by the irrational reorganisation of the recycling provisions in Angus and by the presumption against housing, even affordable, in rural areas. More than a quarter of the residents in Angus live in the countryside (40% if small rural towns are included), and it is time their interests are also recognised. Rural areas in Angus face unprecedented threats (and opportunities) through Brexit and we all need to work together to ensure that rural communities are not disadvantaged. We must encourage development, and ensure there is a sufficiency of affordable houses to achieve this. There has to be a change of attitude by officials, and the end to irrational decisions such as closing thriving country schools. Hughie Campbell Adamson. Millden of Stracathro, Brechin.   Hard facts of austerity Angus Sir, – I have observed with some despair the recent decisions of Angus Council to restrict the opening hours of the tips and to propose imposing parking charges. Both courses of action are counter productive. Making it less convenient for people to use recycling centres may result in more fly tipping in our countryside. The proposed parking charges may impact further on the viability of local shops that are already struggling. However, I do understand that local councillors face difficult decisions trying to balance what they cut with ways to increase income. These decisions are in the context of 10 years of cuts from Westminster. The austerity policies of the UK Government have also brought increased child poverty, stagnant wages, standstill productivity and increased government borrowing and the more Westminster sticks to these policies the more our standard of living is eroded. The overwhelming opinion of economists is that “austerity” as a policy does not work – it stifles growth, increases inequality and results in stagnation, at best, depression at worst. The more these policies continue, the more we will face cuts in local services. Austerity means the only arguments to be made locally among the political parties are over what bits to cut and what charges to increase – parking charges here and cut backs in recycling services there. It is of no credit to our MP, who criticises councillors about decisions on cuts to local services when she is part of the governing party that has imposed austerity on the many while giving tax cuts to the rich. “Austerity” as a policy is only supported by one political party in Britain. So the solution to this politics of despair is deceptively simple – don’t vote Tory. Brian Batson. Lour Road, Forfar.   Who needs the Lyon’s den? Sir, – I read the article on Craigie Primary School which will have to pay an outdated quango £1,800 to retain its school badge, which has been in place since 1952. What a nonsense to apply a 300-year-old act of a defunct Parliament. Do we really need such an office, whose only practical function is to look after the Queen’s official duties in Scotland, which I am sure could be handled by many others? What does it cost per annum to keep this outdated facility operational? What does Joseph Morrow (Lord Lyon) get paid for his office? The parent who suggested letting the children design their own badge makes a lot of sense – as does the idea of telling the Lord Lyon to look for income elsewhere. George Sangster. Logie, Montrose.   Dundee stars deserve acclaim Sir, – I read the recent article on the Discovery Walk of Fame, and would like to nominate two Dundonians worthy of plaques in the walk. The plaques have to be merited regardless of sex, and my two nominees are both gentlemen in every sense of the word. George Kidd was a gentleman of the wrestling world and winner of many international titles; and boxer Dick McTaggart was a very highly-regarded Olympian, having won gold in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. It would be lovely to honour two locals in this wonderful walk, and I hope consideration will be given to their admission into the Walk of Fame, Dundee. Norma Duncan. Well Street, Monifieth.   Referendum remains a goal Sir, – My wife and I took part in the “All under one banner” march in Glasgow on Saturday. It was one of the biggest political demonstrations in Scotland’s history: 91,000 people (the initial police assessment of the numbers) of all parties and none, Scots of all nationalities, marching for the right to run our own country. And they say there is no demand for another referendum. Les Mackay. Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.   Independence numbers game Sir, – As thousands march in favour of separatism in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon will nonetheless be painfully aware opinion polls are consistently against her teenage independence dreams. However enthusiastic Ms Sturgeon’s devoted band of dyed-in-the-wool supporters may be, in the event of another independence referendum, let’s all remember it would be one person, one vote. Martin Redfern. Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.   Waiting for an opening Sir, – Lesley Laird complains that I haven’t raised her attendance as a councillor “in an open forum”. The only “open” events where I come across Mrs Laird these days are council meetings with fixed agendas and rules. It would be inappropriate to raise the subject there. After the recent meeting in Inverkeithing there was a non-public workshop for councillors. I stayed and took part; Mrs Laird left. The only other times we see her are at the informal, non-public ward meetings that the councillors have every six weeks. In Ward 6, these are on Fridays to fit her parliamentary week. We had one on Friday and I was looking forward to asking Mrs Laird how she fits the duties of a councillor into an MP’s spare time. Unfortunately, she didn’t show up. Perhaps I’ll get a chance next month. Cllr Dave Dempsey. Carlingnose Park, North Queensferry.   Remembering not just the Few Sir, – Thomas Brown’s fine letter (May 5) about his encounter with a Lancaster bomber at Strathallan airfield would have struck a chord with many. Andrew Mitchell, my mother’s first husband, lost his life along with thousands of others in Bomber Command, while serving as a mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster. She’d watch his Lancaster take off on each raid and when elderly and in tears she would sometimes sing “When you come home once more...” We should always remember The Few, but we should also remember our Many. Strathallan, I am sure, served well in that regard. Leslie Isles Milligan. Myrtlehall Gardens, Dundee.   Entertainment wins the day Sir, – I was disappointed to read Steve Scott’s negative and parochial comments re the European Tour Golf Sixes on the basis that no home grown or women’s team reached the semi-finals. It was great entertainment irrespective of who was playing. All of the teams displayed fine sportsmanship aligned to a very high standard of play and Ireland ran out worthy winners. Ian Stewart. 12 Boyack Crescent, Monifieth.

UK & World

Heterosexual couple take civil partnership fight to UK’s highest court

May 14 2018

A heterosexual couple who want the right to enter into a civil partnership are taking their fight to the UK’s highest court.Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, want a legal union through that route but are prevented because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 says only same-sex couples are eligible.The academics, who live in Hammersmith, west London, suffered defeat at the Court of Appeal in February last year, but were given the go-ahead in August for a Supreme Court hearing.A panel of five judges, including the court’s president Lady Hale, will consider the couple’s appeal on Monday.Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan, who have two daughters aged two and eight months, claim the Government’s position is “incompatible with equality law”.After being given permission for the hearing, Ms Steinfeld said: “We hope the Supreme Court will deliver a judgment that will finally provide access to civil partnerships for thousands of families across the country.” Mr Keidan said: “The incredible support from many thousands of people who have signed our petition and backing from MPs across the political spectrum has enabled us to come this far.“What started out as a personal effort to become civil partners has taken on wider significance as we realised that as many as 3.3 million co-habiting couples are affected by the status quo.“Over the last few years, we’ve heard the same message: whilst most couples want financial and legal protection for themselves and their families, not all feel comfortable with marriage.“Civil partnerships offer a legally binding arrangement that is fair, popular and good for families and children.”The Court of Appeal agreed the couple had established a potential violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to discrimination, taken with Article 8, which refers to respect for private and family life.But, by a majority of two to one, the judges said the interference was justified by the Government’s policy of “wait and evaluate”.They heard the couple have deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage and wish to enter into a legally regulated relationship which does not carry “patriarchal baggage”.The Government said it was decided, after public consultations and debate in Parliament, not to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, abolish them or phase them out at that stage.The aim was to see how extending marriage to same-sex couples impacted on civil partnerships before making a final decision which, if reversed in a few years’ time, would be disruptive, unnecessary and extremely expensive.The couple are expected to make a direct appeal to the Government to support the extension of civil partnerships to all.

UK & World

Army recruit let down before Deepcut Barracks death, inquest told

May 9 2018

An Army recruit was “let down” by a number of people before he died from gunshot wounds at Deepcut Barracks, an inquest has heard.Private Sean Benton, 20, was found with five bullets in his chest in June 1995, shortly after he had been told he was to be discharged from the Army.An initial inquest found he killed himself, but his family have campaigned for years for a full investigation into his death amid allegations of bullying.Members of the family arrived at the Old Bailey to hear closing submissions before Coroner Peter Rook QC who is due to record his verdict in June.Their lawyer, Paul Greaney QC, told the court: “Sean was let down by a number of people and or by the system.”He called for “clear and definitive conclusions” on the circumstances leading up to Pte Benton’s death.He said it was “uncontroversial” that suicide should be considered but suggested that “neglect” also played a part.Non commissioned officers (NCOs) and officers were or should have been aware of Pte Benton’s deteriorating state, he said.Mr Greaney told the coroner: “They should have known he was being seriously bullied and abused and you would be entitled to conclude such persons were responsible for his bullying.”A number of NCOs stopped Pte Benton from getting hold of a weapon so the risk was acknowledged, he said.The fact he attempted to get on guard duty before bore “striking similarities” to the events of June 9, the court heard.Mr Greaney asserted officers should have known he posed a “risk of harm” in the days leading up to his imminent discharge and barred him from having a gun.Yet on the day he died, a guard was not told that Pte Benton was not on guard duty and should not have had access to a weapon, he said.Such a “simple step” would have prevented his death, the court heard.Mr Greaney said: “All these failures have a direct causal connection to Sean’s death. If they had not occurred, Sean would not have had access to a weapon to shoot himself.”He raised the failure to identify the risk of self harm or suicide and a failure to take steps to provide care and support.He called for a narrative conclusion to look at all the causes behind his death in the public interest as well as for the sake of the family.

Scottish League 2

Donald Findlay’s team talk helps inspire Cowdenbeath to survival

May 14 2018

You can argue whether finishing bottom of the SPFL and winning a survival play-off for the second year running is an achievement for Cowdenbeath but it certainly felt like one in the Central Park sun. Goodness knows what the consequences for Fife’s oldest club would have been had they fallen through the trap door into the Lowland League but the players were left in no doubt about the importance of extending their league status from a 113th year to a 114th thanks to their flamboyant chairman. Oratory comes naturally to Donald Findlay and it would appear that his words have the same impact in a football dressing room as they do in a court of law. Jordyn Sheerin, one of the Blue Brazil players who helped inspire a second half fightback to over-turn the one goal deficit they were faced with, revealed that the advocate’s team talk worked its magic. Even if it maybe took 45 minutes to sink in. “The chairman gave a speech to us before the game in the dressing room,” said the big striker. “It was right from the heart. “I don’t want to go into what he said but he’s from Cowdenbeath and it means a lot to him that he’s the chairman of this football club. “It really got us up for the game.” Cowden got off to the perfect start when Harvey Swann scored an early penalty but the Highland League champions looked bound for League Two when Mitch Megginson scored goals number 51 and 52 of an incredible season. However, when Stuart McKenzie let a Swann free-kick, which was meant as a cross, squeeze under him at the near post you could see the belief drain from the Cove players and rise in their opponents. Sheerin was involved in the decisive moment of the match – and both teams’ seasons – when he collided with McKenzie on the edge of the box and Brad Smith lofted the ball over the pair of them into an empty net from 30 yards out. “I’ve stood up and the keeper has run into me,” said Sheerin. “I’ve not meant it. The referee has seen it and chose not to give a free-kick. If anything, it was a free-kick to me. “I didn’t trip him up.” It was the sort of statement that the Monday to Friday Donald Findlay would have picked apart but it matters not. The goal was given and Cowden were staying up. Smith said: “They were saying big Jo tripped the goalie but I didn’t see it. I just saw the keeper off his line. I actually thought my shot was going to hit the bar but it dipped just in time. “It’s so important to this club. We know we’ve had a poor season so it’s more about relief than feeling like celebrating. “Next season we need to get away from the relegation battle we’ve been involved in for the last two years.” Where Sheerin is playing his football next season remains to be seen but what wasn’t in doubt was his double cause for celebration. “I’ve still got two years left on my deal at Kelty Hearts,” said the on-loan forward. “We’ll need to see what happens. “They’re a rags to riches story and I’m delighted for the boys that they’ve gone up (to the Lowland League). I needed both results to go my way today and it’s brilliant that they have.” It was quite the ending to this match. Five red cards were handed out (we think) after an all-in confrontation in front of the dugouts that even had management teams, a substituted player on crutches and stewards in the thick of it. Sheerin said: “It’s a few years ago since I’ve seen anything like that! “It was actually quite funny. It was the dying minutes and they were trying to save the game. It was handbags really but there was a lot of emotion going about. “There was massive pressure out there. “All the boys just feel relieved now that it’s over. “It’s huge for the community that we stayed up. You could see that by the number of fans who turned up today.” Cowden boss Gary Bollan was one of those ordered off but after temperatures came down he was already starting to think about what will need to be done to break the cycle of the club flirting with disaster. “It’s job done,” he said. “That was the aim when we came in and now we have to move on to next season and make sure days like this don’t happen again.”

Restaurant Reviews

The Grange Inn, St Andrews (39/50)

May 12 2018

On a bright and sunny day in April, a friend and I took a drive from Dundee, over the Tay Bridge, through St Andrews, and a mere five minutes after leaving the famous town, we arrived at our destination - The Grange Inn. It did not seem possible that, in this short distance, we could have gained so much altitude as the views from the car park alone are something to behold. We stood in wonder even before we entered this cosy inn in Fife as it felt as though we could see the whole of Courier Country and beyond. It helped that the weather was clear and bright and the sea glistened in the distance. The Grange Inn is a maze of nooks and crannies and the dining room itself has a large picture window in an otherwise cosy stone room in order for guests to marvel, as we did, at the vista. There are not many tables and the atmosphere on our chosen lunchtime was quiet and calm. The lunch menu was presented to us and £20 for three courses seemed very reasonable for a place that clearly wasn't going to be serving run of the mill fare. I will say that the main courses were all fairly heavy and wintry but how was the chef to know that the weather was about to do a rapid degree shift from windy winter to sunny spring? Before our starters arrived came the bread. Oh the bread. Made in house, the bake of choice that day was walnut and sultana, which was springy on the inside with a lovely hard crust and on the cusp of being a cake rather than a bread. It was fabulous and we had to try very hard not to scoff the lot, with lashings of butter of course. My first course was the pigeon and blueberry roulade. I love the gamey flavour of pigeon but this creation had a rather more mellow flavour. It was soft and cut like butter and the blueberries lifted the dish with a zing. The vegetable garnish had been lightly pickled and overall this was a delicate and subtle starter. My friend chose the watermelon served with fresh cheese as it had been made by the chef. It was Crowdie-like in texture but without the saltiness which meant it didn't stand out as the star of the show. The watermelon was under-ripe but still added a cool freshness to the creamy Parma ham and toasted buckwheat components. I was aiming for a lighter lunch and so chose the hake which was cooked perfectly. I love hake as it has as much flavour as, say, sea bream but with a chunkier, meatier texture and these morsels were prepared simply to allow their flavour to shine. Plenty of fresh dill was clinging to the new potatoes which sat alongside the confit cherry tomatoes, butternut squash and wilted greens. The dish was completed with a balsamic and chive oil dressing which added a hint of sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed my plate of food. It was simple and fresh and the combination really worked. Our other main course was the braised blade of beef. No knife needed for this one as the meat just melted under the slightest pressure. It had clearly been cooking for many hours in its red wine sauce, giving the whole dish the depth of flavour one would hope for. The accompanying red cabbage carried a hint of cinnamon and made a lovely contrast with the earthy root vegetables and creamy mash. A hearty and comforting dish. Even on a weekday lunchtime, we decided to push the boat out and sample desserts. As hard as I tried, I couldn't move past the clootie dumpling on the menu and not because of its familiar warming feeling but because of the description of the iced marmalade yoghurt and tea syrup that were noted as its accompaniments. I was certainly not disappointed. The dumpling itself was light but the iced yoghurt simply divine. It had the slightly sour taste that yoghurt does but with the bittersweet flavour of marmalade that would have made Paddington Bear very proud. Using frozen yoghurt instead of traditional custard or ice cream really did lift this pudding entirely and I loved it. Once we had googled Tonka beans, my friend ordered the panna cotta which had been flavoured with these sweet yet earthy pods. Not as sickly as vanilla, the beans suited the creamy jelly really well. The crunchy and oh so naughty honeycomb provided a totally different texture to the smooth dessert and this one too was a winner.   We had been served a lovely lunch by three charming and enthusiastic members of the waiting staff team. From the moment we sat down, it was clear that real time and effort had been taken in the kitchen to cook and serve the food with precision and care. The portions were not overbearing and the presentation elegant. To make bread in house is a real treat for guests but to make cheese as well shows true dedication and flair. The Grange Inn is quirky, cosy and adorable and the setting is wonderful. A lovely spot all round.     Info Price: Lunch: £17 for 2 courses and £20 for 3 courses. Value: 9/10 Menu:  7/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Service: 8/10 Food: 8/10 Total: 39/50 Info: The Grange Inn Address: Grange Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LJ Tel: 01334 472670 Web:  www.thegrangeinn.com  

Motoring news

Hyundai gives i20 mid life refresh with dual clutch gearbox

May 12 2018

Hyundai has given its i20 supermini a mid-life refresh. Diesel is ditched, with the range now comprising petrol engines only, and the South Korean car maker has added a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox to the range for the first time. Expected in showrooms in June, the updates apply to both the three-door coupé and five-door hatchback versions of the i20 supermini. Styling changes include revisions to the front and rear bumpers, the addition of the brand’s signature cascading grille, new 15 and 16-inch wheel designs and two-tone paintwork. Models in S and SE specification gain a new seven-inch display audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. Higher up the range, Premium Nav and Premium SE Nav models get an upgraded infotainment system, again based around a seven-inch screen and smartphone compatible. The new seven-speed automatic transmission, which is said to improve comfort and efficiency, is launched alongside stop/start technology that's now standard for the whole range. Hyundai has removed the option of the 1.4-litre diesel engine from the i20 line-up. That means engine options now include the 99bhp or 118bhp version of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo. A 74bhp or 84bhp version of the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine also remains part of the line up. The 1.2-litre and 100hp 1.0-litre are supplied with a five-speed manual gearbox, the 120hp unit with a six-speed, but this can now also be matched to the seven-speed dual clutch auto transmission, never before offered in the i20 line-up. Hyundai is also significantly updating the i20’s safety specification, introducing its SmartSense package as standard on SE models and above. Lane departure warning and Lane Keeping Assist are available, as is autonomous emergency braking and a driver attention alert that monitors driving patterns and activates sounds and instrument panel messages if it senses the driver is becoming fatigued. The refreshed i20 will go on sale in June with prices expected to start from around £12,000.