19/07/2011 Midlands Today


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Good evening. Welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight: Economically flawed and not commercially viable - that's


the verdict of an influential think tank on the proposals for High


Speed 2. Doing nothing simply is not an option. The line which would


link Birmingham and London would cost around �17 billion and cut


travel time down to 49 minutes. the latest research by the


Institute of Economic Affairs claims HS2 will cost the taxpayer


Good evening. Economically flawed and not viable - the conclusions of


the think tank over the high-speed link between Birmingham and London.


The Institute is an independent think tank which undertakes


research and comments on economic affairs. But those in favour of the


high speed railway line have disputed the figures quoted.


On the animators drawing board HS2 is flying along at top speed. In


the real world, it's hit the buffers, again. In an


uncompromising report the think tank, the Institute of Economic


Affairs, or IEA, says the high speed rail project is:


Economically flawed, with exaggerated time savings and


fraudulent green credentials. The project it says makes false


regeneration claims about closing the north-south divide. And, above


all, it's a political vanity project. It's not like defence or


help whether benefits are spread across the nation. It will be a


small number of rich people who will use it and everyone else has


to pay for it whether they've used it on not. Needless to say the


report found a captive audience at the Stop HS2 Headquarters in


Kenilworth. But judging by the first three people we met, views


remain mixed. Everything I have read about it, it does not make


sense. It is not economically feasible. Nobody in the area is


going to help. I do not disagree with having a high-speed railway,


but they don't seem to know what they are doing and I don't think it


is going to benefit this area at all. I am for it. I think we need


more high-speed rail links in general. If proof were needed of


just how emotive this issue is, within minutes of the IEA's


reporting reaching us, my email inbox pinged to the sound of a


rebuttal. It was the Yes To High Speed Rail campaign, saying the


report was full of myths and weak research. And the report failed to


convince other HS2 supporters, like Richard Butler from the CBI, who


met me at Birmingham's Millennium Point, close to where the HS2


terminus would be built. I think the report uses very emotive


language. The CBI are supporters of High Speed 2. It will bring


benefits to the region. The report is missing the point in that we


need to do something. Doing nothing is not an option. Up grading the


current system is almost as expensive as High Speed 2.


public consultation on HS2 ends in just ten days, with a Government


decision expected at the end of the year. If it gets the go ahead,


construction could start in 2017. But the arguments around it are


likely to run on for much longer. With us is a work political editor.


It is not helped by the computer graphics. Where is the objective


truth? Everyone in the campaign seems to have an axe to grind. This


evening, a work Collings on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire have


established that one of the Co authors of that report just happens


to live at Burton Green, which is on the route. The Transport


Secretary has pointed out that so many of the arguments against high-


speed rail just happen to come from people who live on the line? How do


you assess the balance of the argument? There is an interesting


spread of argument. If you go to the comment section of my block --


blog. Other towns have benefited from a high-speed links. We are so


short of money and will a shiny new vanity project comes along and


there are funds available. We will have the report on the consultation


at the end of the year. Next year the Government really has to make


decisions, whether to scrap it, modify it ought to press ahead with


minor modifications, like landscaping and tunnelling. Where's


your money? I think there will be a high-speed rail system, but it


depends on the modifications. you. Later in the programme - find


out how one of our oldest manufacturers is planning on making


more out of the lucrative export market. And joining on the day that


Aston Villa Brickfields and new signing and a new shirt. -- reveals


a new signing and a new shirt. Taxpayers are having to cough up


for a religious statue after public donations dried up. The statue of


the Blessed John Henry Newman was due to be erected in a park where


Pope Benedict XVI held a mass last summer. Although it's expected to


be a destination for pilgrims the statue's yet to go on display


because of the concerns over its funding. 6 ft tall and resplendent


in gold - the statue of John Henry Newman seated with a scholarly gaze.


It was blessed by the Pope soon after he arrived for the


beatification mass last September. Organisers had said that pilgrims


could come here to view the staff are. A 10 months on and it is


nowhere to be seen for such a a There was an awkward stage where


the piece have been finished and there was not the money to pay


Furyk. A huge amount of money had to be raised for the papal visit.


When it came to paying for this, pockets were not deep enough.


work was commissioned by Birmingham City Council and they have decided


to make up the difference. The pub we did not raise the money


initially, but yet the council is putting in public money. We had to


honour a commitment. There are huge economic benefits ants it improves


the profile of the city. So what about the statue? It will not go


ahead because of concerns over vandalism and theft. It can come


here to the Birmingham Oratory. Ironically this is what the


artist's great uncle JRR Tolkien was raised by a Catholic priest and


were later this year Newman's statue could go on permanent


display. Sandwell Council has been told it


won't receive any money from the government to replace the Building


Schools for the Future programme which was scrapped last year. The


project would have seen nine schools in the borough rebuilt or


refurbished. Instead, local authorities will be invited to


apply for funding from a new rebuilding programme. The


government says the fairer system will identify schools around the


country in most in need of repair. Sandwell Council has called an


emergency meeting to consider its next option.


The MoD has announced that the Defence College of Aeronautical


Engineering at RAF Cosford in Shropshire is to be moved to


Wiltshire. It follows plans announced yesterday to move Defence


Technical Training to RAF Lyneham. It's thought the transfer will


happen in around four years time. Drivers in Gloucestershire are


being asked to sign up to a safer driving scheme aimed at reducing


speeding in rural villages. Motorists in Hardwick, near


Quedgely, are logging on to a website to pledge that they will


stick to the speed limit. It's hoped the softer approach to


motorists will encourage them to slow down. If successful the


project could be expanded elsewhere in the county.


Parents have staged a protest over a plan to end full-time care at a


city's council run nurseries. The SureStart centres in Coventry look


after young children so their parents can go out to work. Many


are in deprived areas. But the council says it has to make savings


from its child care budget. They have only known for a week


that their children's nursery care is under threat, but these parents


are already letting councillors know how angry they are. Some


parents will give up work. I have had parents all over the city say


to me, I'll go on to benefits. Earlier, Samantha Lyle was amongst


parents who dropped off children at the SureStart in Tile Hill. Taylor


has build incredible bonds with everyone here. To tear him away


from it will be catastrophic. have been using the service for


nine years. I have got three children. I love nursery.


campaigners had been told alternative nursery care is


available in Coventry, but it will cost up to �20 a day extra and


parents can't afford it. Some say they will have to give up work if


full-time nursery care is axed. The council insists cut in this service


is the least painful way to make savings on the children's care


budget. We need to target our resource better it so that the most


vulnerable children in our city can benefit from the help we can give


them. At the moment, we will not be able to do that so we have to look


carefully at all our budgets and targets resources more carefully.


The final decision on the cuts will not be made until the autumn. Still


to come on the programme: has autumn come early? Find out what is


happening to our horse chestnut trees.


A car components factory is to close with the loss of 157 jobs.


Kongsberg Automotive makes parts for car seats and has been based in


Burton-on-Trent for more than 50 years. The Norwegian company is


transferring production to Poland. It is devastating. This is a


specialist manufacturer and workers have a specialist skill. Some


people have been here for 30 years. It is a highly skilled UK


manufacturer, specific to Burton. They are a staple in many country


kitchens and many of those who have them say they would never swap them.


So how will Aga devotees react to news the traditional cooking range


manufacturer is bringing out a new type of cooker? Like many big name


brands, AGA has struggled during the recession and that's what


prompted them to add to their range. As our Business Correspondent Peter


Plisner reports, it could also mean more jobs at the firm.


The latest production line at Aga's Telford factory. Workers are


bringing about something of a revolution with the first


controllable cooker. Opened the door and we have a whole new game.


Traditionally, the choice was everything on all Aree think of,


but that is changing. Everyone looks at their bills over different


economic periods. In addition to that, people are looking at the


kind of energy they are using. For all the reasons, the right reasons,


this product scores highly. That should be the case for Aga as well


as it will boost sales. It has been a difficult time for the company,


but demand is picking up again and this new product will capitalise on


it. Aga has been around for 300 years and its cookers up the


fixture of many country kitchens. Experts agree that innovation is


key. We need to ensure that all our manufacturers are adding as much


value as they can to their products and their brands. That is the thing


that will make the most competitive on an international stage. That is


where the company is heading. Only 20 % of current products are


exported. It is hoped the new Caulker will be a recipe for


success all over the world. - that the new cooker.


Birmingham City fans are meeting tonight as part of a campaign to


remove Carson Yeung from the club's board. Yeung was arrested in Hong


Kong last month to face five charges of money laundering


involving sums of �59 million. Yesterday his 18-year-old son Ryan


was appointed to the club's board. Fans are concerned about the Blues'


finances and how Yeung's arrest could affect the club. There is a


double unveiling for Aston Villa. They are showing off their new


shirt and new signing. Our reporter is there now.


The fans have turned out in numbers, but there has been some concern


over the play at traffic. -- player traffic. They have redressed the


balance now or wit the signing of Shay Given. I am really excited.


The last few days I had been raring to go. I had my first training


session today. It was pretty exciting. We have also spoken to


the Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish. We are still trying to


bring in another player. I am not at liberty to mention names. We are


hoping to speak to one of the current players. They are getting


ready in their new kit. Let us talk to a former player. Shay Given - is


he a bonus? Definitely. He is a great guy and a great addition to


the team. We asked Alex McLeish how much money will be spent on new


signings. He has argued that some players are like new signings.


we need to get the best out of the players that we have got and maybe


give the youngsters a chance. a fresh start with Alex McLeish.


They did not want him, but the fans have turned out to see him. Aston


Villa fans are loyal and they have turned out today. Hopefully they


will be buying a few strips as well. It is good to see them. Everyone is


starting to get the bars for the new season. I am looking forward to


it. Do you miss it a little bit now that you are not playing? Yes.


you think Aston Villa can turn the tide? Hopefully. We have been close.


There will be a few changes, eight new doctrine. Hopefully we can do


well in one of the competitions. The new kit will be unveiled in


about 15 minutes. It seems despite the controversy this summer, Villa


fans are supporting their club. More than 80,000 cricket fans will


be heading to Birmingham next month for the third Test match between


England and India. For many, it will be their first glimpse of


Warwickshire's new-look, multi- million pound stadium. But this


afternoon Edgbaston opened its doors to Ian Winter.


It has a passing resemblance to a spaceship from Star Trek. Do not be


fooled. This is at Edgbaston, Jim, but not as we know it. -- Edgbaston.


The home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club has had the mother of


all makeovers. Builders have been busy creating a world-class Test


match arena. Inside the home dressing room there is based for


the players to get changed in comfort. It is brilliant. It is a


world-class facility. All the lads are looking forward to playing here


regularly. In the Jaguar at sweet, VIPs will be wined and dined.


needed world-class facilities. We had to make sure that we remain


ahead of the competition. The new stadium has cost �32 million and it


has raised the capacity of Edgbaston to 25,000 spectators. On


the skyline terrace there are spectacular views of Birmingham


city centre and the cricket. And in the press box are the best seats in


the House. So far, they have sold more than 80,000 tickets for the


game and that his music to the ears of the driving force behind this


massive project. Without this investment, Edgbaston would not be


staging international cricket, which would be bad for the club.


Monday Prince Philip will officially open the new stadium. In


September they will find that if they will host a Test against


Australia in two years time. It is absolutely breathtaking.


Now, have you taken a close look at your local conker trees? It may


only be July, but many of of our horse chestnuts look as if they are


ready for autumn and are vovered in brown, withered leaves. The cause


is a tiny moth and now researchers want to track just how far this


destructive creature has spread by using mobile phones. And our


Science Correspondent David Gregory is with some affected conkers trees


in Birmingham now. David, this is all the fault of the leaf-miner


moth, yes? Yes. And if you walk through a line


of conker trees you notice these tiny moths. As small as a staple.


Flying about. Now they spend winter in the leaf litter under the trees,


and now they are rising up.. And laying eggs on the chestnut leaves.


And it's the eggs that do the damage, they hatch into


caterpillars that mine inside the leaf leaving ugly brown marks. Like


autumn has come early. They call so much damage because they have three


generations a year. Bees the trees will get progressively Brownite and


it looks as if Alton has come early. In Cheltenham, this is the damage


done by one generation. With this new app, you can take a photograph


and rate the damage. You can add your location, which the firm does


automatically. Finally, there is a question about grounds cover


because the scientists are interested in what is going on


underneath the tree. Then you send it in. You will not just be helping


conker trees. It will preparer so we can understand more about other


invading of colonising in sex and blood diseases in the future. So


all the information we get now will be invaluable. But this is still


the little moth that remains a big problem for a World conker trees.


If you don't have a smart phone, you can use a special website to


track the conker trees in your area. For more information, please look


at the website. Bonkers about conkers! And now for


the weather. Kenny believe we are in the middle


of July. It has not felt like it today. We have seen some showers.


As we go into tonight, we expect to see Clairette skies. -- clearer


skies. There will be some mist and fog patches. Showers are heavier in


the east. We are looking at lows of around 11 Celsius. Tomorrow morning,


more cloud moving in. There will be more showers as well. There is some


brightness, but it will be limited, as it has been for the past few


days. Highs before 19 Celsius. Tomorrow night, a similar picture.


Friday, you can see that low pressure will be around. Dry and


Tonight's main headlines: a Commons hearing on the phone hacking


scandal was suspended after a protester tried to attack Rupert


Murdoch. And here, a new report says high-speed rail is


economically flawed and not commercially viable. That is all


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