06/01/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.


The headlines tonight: With a Government decision due next week,


the final big push to get the go- ahead for a High Speed Rail link.


But for some, a new railway line could spell disaster for their


lifestyle and livelihood. In other news: the elderly woman


stabbed to death in her remote cottage near the River Severn -


police describe the circumstances as tragic.


"No one would listen" says the surgeon who highlighted the breast


implant scandal 18 months ago. And a fanfare for Tamworth as they


prepare for an FA Cup day to remember.


ALL CHANT: Two, four, six, eight, Good evening and welcome to


Friday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: one last push from


the campaigners fighting to bring High Speed Two trains to the region.


Business leaders, union bosses and economists today urged the


Government to press ahead with plans for the controversial line


between London and Birmingham. A decision could come as soon as


Tuesday, but opponents of the �32 billion scheme maintain there's no


economic or environmental case for HS2. In a moment we'll be talking


to both sides, but first here's Ben Godfrey. Just days before the


Government could decide the future of High Speed Rail, this


controversial, charged debate was taken to the letter pages of three


national newspapers. The message from business leaders was clear -


the UK's transport infrastructure is a major obstacle to growth.


Peter Mathews was one of them. His metal recycling business in the


Black Country survives on exports. He says without High Speed Rail,


his business won't grow, and he can't create jobs. It wouldn't be


as effective as it should be, bandages and at the moment. The


more people that can come and see us, the better for us. We need to


establish ourselves more by having that kind of facility.


If the Transport Secretary gives HS2 the green light, possibly next


week, passengers could see journey times between London and Birmingham


cut to around 45 minutes. Supporters argue it could create up


to 8,000 and pump �2.5 billion into the economy. -- up to 8,000 jobs.


You can see the wires going across the field here to that hedge.


Farmer Derek Hiatt questions these figures. The proposed route skirts


his family's farm in Ufton in Warwickshire. He says the business


argument fails to acknowledge that many longstanding farming


businesses will be blighted. I have worked very hard all my life. We


finally had the chance to buy this farm 14 years ago and handing it


over to my daughters were the train track going through it, it will be


worth a lot less. For two years, debates have been


taking place in village halls and business forums around the region.


Transport secretaries have come and gone. At a time of national


austerity, this is a line that will cost �17 billion pounds to build,


and extensions further north could see that figure double. This is


Offchurch near Leamington Spa, one of many villages that have raised


thousands of pounds to fight against HS two. For both sides, the


wait for the Government's decision is almost over.


Joe is an anti- high-speed rail campaigner. It's all over, isn't


it? The Government have always insited they want it. Now business


is supporting with these big ads. The know, it is not all over. Those


who are lobbying for it have an interest, they stand to profit from


it. Don't we need it at a time when the economy is struggling? There


won't be any jobs for 10 or 20 years, and you can deliver more


benefits to more people more quickly with the same money by


investing in the existing transport infrastructure. But it is good to


invest long term for a more prosperous future. Investing in the


current infrastructure would be long-term, and it would deliver


benefits all across the country. HS two will serve a very narrow


corridor. You don't to leave on at the actual road, you're against it


for the reasons you have said. But a lot of the people who are against


it to have homes on the line. It's not a time for nimbyism. It is not


just that. People have read the documents, and what you find with


any project but this is there is local opposition, but the reason


the opposition to this is so strong is it because the case for it is so


rubbish. So why does the government wanted? Are all these business


leaders wrong? It has been touted as a solution looking for a problem.


Lord Adonis said to the Department of Transport said that we want to


are the fastest and most expensive railway line in the world, and


tried to justify it. But you have to look at what is best for the


company as a whole -- the country as a whole. We think there might be


a decision on Tuesday. If it goes against you, what can you do?


are lots of avenues open. There is the chance of judicial review. The


environmental impact analysis still has to happen, and besides finding


out what the true damage will be, that will raise the cost. There


will be a single coming out on Sunday, re-releasing it from


Christmas, as a campaign against it. Thank you for joining us. One place


that could benefit greatly from High Speed Rail is the NEC, with


journey times from London being cut to just over half an hour. Since


1976 it's generated billions of pounds for the local economy and


tens of thousands of jobs. So what impact would HS2 have if it does go


ahead? Ben Sidwell's been investigating. And a warning - his


report contains flashing images. The nation has at last acquired an


exhibition centre that can bear comparison with the best of what


the rest of the world has to offer. I have great pleasure in declaring


the National Exhibition Centre open. When the Queen officially opened


the NEC in 1976, no one really knew whether the idea would actually


work. Today there's no doubt about it. 2.1 million people visit the


NEC every year, generating �1.8 billion for the West Midlands


economy and creating 25,000 jobs. It is not bad for something that


was seen as a white elephant when it opened 35 years ago. When you


look back in the Sixties, when Birmingham politicians came up with


the idea of building an exhibition centre in Solihull, I think a lot


of people looked at them as if they were mad. But actually, out of what


can appear sometimes very brave, original ideas comes a phenomenal


success. Part of the NEC's appeal is it


location and travel links. 75% of the UK's entire population are


within a three-hour drive. We have come from Liverpool, and it has


taken about two-and-a-half hours. Peterborough, it took me two hours.


The prospect of High Speed Rail would see the centre's catchment


area increased and the journey time for many reduced, with travel from


London to the National Exhibition Centre being cut to just over half


an hour. For the NEC's Managing Director, that's a very exciting


prospect. When you look at the NEC site, it is a unique site in Europe


in terms of the amount of land, the connectivity and detachment. So if


you build high-speed rail into that, I believe we have a real cocktail


of success on our doorstep here. December, 125,000 people from all


over the country visited the Clothes Show, which is in its 23rd


consecutive year at the NEC. The man behind that show, and many


others such as Gardeners' World and the Good Food Show, believes the


location and travel links help set it apart from many other exhibition


We get people travelling from as far as Cornwall and Scotland to


come to our shows. You don't get that if you have an exhibition in


London. The facilities within the NEC, at the heart of the country


with excellent rail and air links, it means you can really create a


true international event. It may have been a risk back in


1976, but with the sort of money it now brings in, the NEC has become


something the West Midlands economy simply couldn't do without. Whether


High Speed Rail would have a similar effect on the region is


And you can read both sides of the High Speed 2 argument on the BBC


News website. Thanks for joining us this evening


here on Midlands Today. Later, police are warning youngsters to be


on the lookout for gangs targeting their new high-tech Christmas


Police have revealed an elderly woman murdered at her remote


country cottage was stabbed to death. Betty Yates, who was 77, was


found at her home near Bewdley after friends raised the alarm when


she failed to turn up for a walk at her rambling club. Cath Mackie is


in Bewdley for us now. Cath, more details are now emerging. Yes,


there are. You can probably see the police car behind me, guarding the


entrance to a track to her house which is about a mile down there.


This whole area is under police cordon as they continued the hunt


for the killer or killers of the 77-year-old retired school teacher.


They had said she was subjected to a violent attack, stabbed with a


knife in her home which she shared with her husband until his death


seven years ago. The house stands in an isolated


spot on the Bank of the River Severn near Bewdley. It is in this


apparently idyllic place at that she was murdered. Dozens of police


officers are searching for clues as to who murdered her and why.


Surrounding fields and footpaths are being scoured for the evidence


that will lead to her killers. The alarm was raised on Wednesday


morning by a neighbour after Mrs Yeates failed to turn up for a


morning walk. Shortly after that, her body was discovered. She ran a


local reading group for the University of the Third Age, an


activity and educational organisation for older people.


was a very active member of the Third Age, and had been since 2006.


She was a much respected and loved by many. As news of the murder


spread, the mayor said it was a sad day for the town. It is a tragic


and horrific event. It is obviously going to affect the town quite


considerably. We are a close-knit community, and pretty friendly down


here, and something like this must upset everybody that comes to hear


about it. Police say a knife has been recovered from the scene and


is undergoing forensic examination. They said they are determined to


catch the people responsible. This evening, a small memorial of


flowers is beginning to grow in her memory.


And I imagine more flowers will arrive, because Mrs Yeates was very


active in this community. She volunteer helping children to read


at St Bartholomew's Primary school in Stockport, and teachers there


held a minute's silence today in her memory. She was someone who


dedicated her life to education. She had two children of her own, a


son and daughter who don't live locally. Police have repeated their


appeal to the public tonight to help solve this awful crime.


Kath, thank you. A Midlands surgeon says he highlighted the dangers


surrounding breast implants made by a French firm more than 18 months


ago. His revelation comes after the Government said tonight there was


no evidence to recommend the routine removal of 40,000 PIP


implants from women in the UK. Meanwhile, a Staffordshire woman


has been telling Sarah Falkland about the trauma caused by her


faulty implants. Looking good is Zoe Talbot's


business. The 36-year-old mother of two is a beautician from Tamworth.


She paid �4,000 to have PIP implants at a London clinic in 2009,


but by early last year she discovered a lump in one breast.


though the worst. I thought I had cancer, which is what I'm sure


anybody would think. It didn't even enter my head that it could


possibly be the implant, because they were relatively new. In fact,


silicone had leaked into her breast tissue, and she had to undergo a


second operation to have them removed. This is the kind of


transplant that Zoe should have had. Instead, they had an industrial


silicon, the sort that you find in a bed matches. Vik Vijh is a


consultant plastic surgeon. He sees women like Zoe, and has to repair


the damage. But he says he and other professional bodies raised


the alarm about PIP 18 months ago. I am not going to comment on why it


has been ignored. I am not going to even Croad the Health Minister, who


has not made an error, but mentioned that a large company


involving cosmetic surgery had released new data that did not


agree with their old data, but couldn't explain why. That is


exceedingly diplomatic, and I'm very impressed that he managed to


keep his cool. I wouldn't have been able to. Zoe now has fresh implants,


but she worries that the silicon from the French one is still inside


her. I do get aches and pains under my armpits, and they don't even


know yet what the silicon is exactly, or what long-term problems


that can cause. Tonight, the Government said it would replace


for free any implants are putting on the NHS, and it expects private


clinics to offer the same deal. And there's more information about


the breast implant scandal on the It's believed a house fire which


killed a man was an accident. Firefighters were called to a home


in Cramp Hill in Darlaston in the Black Country early this morning.


An 80-year-old woman escaped, but an 82-year-old man couldn't be


saved. A 35-year-old man's been arrested


on suspicion of murder after a homeless man was attacked at a bus


stop. Richard Williams was sitting at the bus stop in Dudley Road in


Birmingham last month when he was attacked. He died of head injuries.


Families have been allowed back into their homes after an armed


siege which lasted two days. Firearms officers and negotiators


had been surrounding a house in Stoke-on-Trent since Wednesday. The


stand-off ended peacefully this lunchtime, and a 66-year-old man


has been arrested. Our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper


Families heading for home after three days of drama and disruption.


This was the scene as armed officers cordoned off Guildford


Street in the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent. They'd been called


here on Wednesday lunchtime after concerns were raised over a 66-


year-old man. This lunchtime a man was arrested for a firearms offence.


He'll be assessed and treated by healthcare workers. I completely


understand that people would be distressed by this type of incident


happening in their neighbourhood. The police officers who have been


here have been there to keep people safe, and we have had a peaceful


and successful conclusion to the incident.


30 houses were evacuated during that operation. Most familes stayed


with relatives or friends. Many more found themselves trapped in


their homes within the police cordon. They could only watch from


windows as marksmen patrolled outside. For 48 hours the focus was


on one mid-terraced home. Quite anxious when they first turned up


and you road is closed off, and you can't leave the house and the telly


to stand away from the windows. lot of people started to get a


little anxious, mostly because they wanted to get back into their homes,


and they were fed up with having to go through police are cordons all


the time. Trained negotiators had worked through two nights to help


bring the siege to an end. Police have thanked all those whose lives


were disrupted for their patience. The cordons have been lifted, and


life can return to normal. The main priority for the police is that


this situation was resolved police -- peacefully.


It's estimated that 150,000 people across the region will call the gas


emergency service line this winter because of badly-fitted appliances


or gas leaks. National Grid says following the severity of last


winter they've learnt a lot of lessons. They're now better


prepared to deal with a high volume of call-outs. This time last year,


we probably had 360 people, but only to London 20 were trained to


take emergency calls. Now almost -- 220 were told -- trained to take


emergency called. Now almost all our staff can take emergency calls.


Thanks for your company this Friday evening. A rousing send-off for the


Tamworth squad as they head for their dream cup tie on Merseyside.


And it's been a stormy start to January, but now we can breathe a


sigh of relief as we head towards a much quieter weekend. I'll be here


with all the details in a few minutes.


But first: Pupils have been chaperoned from school by police in


some areas to protect them from muggers out to steal valuable


Christmas presents such as smartphones and iPods. Police say


thieves particularly target children at this time of year and


they're warning youngsters and parents to be on their guard. Bob


Hockenhull reports. Boxing Day, and on the Number 60


bus in Birmingham, a gang of three muggers approach young passengers


and steal their mobile phones. West Midlands police believe they're


responsible for a raft of similar crimes. They've launched Operation


Hay to catch the robbers and warn school pupils of the dangers of


flaunting expensive gadgets, particularly on public transport.


Wear with my friends, I feel secure, so I will bring my phone out, but


when I'm on my end, my phone stays in my pocket. I suppose I used it a


lot on the bus, because I don't think it will happen to me. But it


is dangers that will always be there. It is the new found, kids


perhaps not being aware that there are other guys out there, people


not aware of what is going on. Kids are excited by then you presence,


but they need to be aware that other people might be looking with


other motives. They are also targeting popular


transport hubs such as More Street station here. Yesterday they


investigated one man, who is now being investigated on suspicion of


committing about six robberies. A team of 40 officers have been


handing out leaflets giving advice on how to protect belongings.


British Transport Police have joined the operation as train


passengers are also deemed to be vulnerable. Some individual


deliberately target at a bus network or the train network, and


we have seen instances where people will bordered one stop, commit an


offence and disembark, and then poured another train for exactly


the same reason. Similar patrols in previous winters


have seen a reduction in muggings on schoolchildren, and the police


say they're determined to ensure youngsters can travel without fear


of being targeted. Bob Hockenhull, BBC Midlands Today, Birmingham.


Time for sport with Dan, and one of the biggest dates in the football


calendar, the FA Cup third round, is nearly upon us.


It is my favourite weekend of the season, have to say. It will be one


of the greatest shocks in FA Cup history if they win, but that's not


stopping the people of Tamworth believing a giant-killing is


possible. The non-leaguers are at Premier League Everton tomorrow,


and as Nick Clitheroe reports, they'll have the whole town behind


them. 2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?


Go, Tamworth! Try telling these young fans that


the magic of the FA Cup is gone. Tamworth's third-round tie at


Everton has captured the imagination of the town and around


500 children from local schools turned out to send the team off in


style this morning. I have never seen so many kids before in my life,


cheering us on. Absolutely brilliant. Who is going to win on


Saturday, kids? All caps all: It's been an amazing week for


players unused to being the centre of attention. On Wednesday they got


their hands on the FA Cup. And yesterday they were off to


Wolverhampton racecourse where the Conference's sponsors had named a


race in honour of the team. The Good Luck to Tamworth stakes was a


bit of fun for the players, a chance to judge the best turned-out


horse, to have a flutter on the outcome and to present the trophy


to the winning trainer. But what are the chances of them actually


winning? Well, the bookies make them 25-1 outsiders. I have had a


few dreams of scoring the winner, or a last ditch tackle. It would be


more for my family, plus you have a chance to show the whole world what


we have got and what Tamworth football club has got. We have


scored a few in the last minute, so if you would say to me that my


goalkeeper can make a number of saves, the back for can clear the


ball a few times, we will let them a hit the bar a few times, and we


will steal it from them in the 93rd minute. That would make me happy!


And you'd certainly be a fool to tell these fans or the travelling


supporters heading for Goodison tomorrow that Tamworth will fall


short on the big day. I have never seen anything like


this. What a week of razzmatazz it Absolutely wonderful. It is


terrific, and there are also Cheltenham playing Spurs, and loads


of other stuff on. Bristol Rovers against Aston Villa really grabs my


attention. 19th in League 2. 8 games without a win. Sacked manager


Paul Buckle on Tuesday. Assistant Shaun North now in charge. It would


be great for Bristol if they could win. Wolves fan will be really


pleased about their winger is back in the set-up. I can't wait for


tomorrow afternoon. BBC local radio I just love the third-round weekend.


There will be a shock somewhere, and let's just hope it is one of


After a stormy week, what's the weekend weather got in store? Ben


Good evening. After a stormy start to January, it looks like a quiet


weekend to come. We have had some pretty strong wind, and several


flood warnings this week, but to this weekend will be breezy, but


not particularly windy, and mostly dry. It will be a much quieter


weekend ahead. The reason for that is this ridge of high pressure here


slowly trying to exert its influence up from the south. These


whether France provide a little fly in the ointment, some damp drizzly


weather at times. So it will stay quite cloudy through tonight. We


could see a little drizzle here and there. Temperatures dropped to


around five or six Celsius, and it will be breezy but nothing like as


windy as it has been. Tomorrow, quite a bright start to the day.


There may be just one or two like showers drifting across through the


afternoon. The north-westerly breeze will be noticeable, but


again nothing like it has been, temperatures around 89 Celsius. You


will notice the breeze if you are off to some of the FA Cup matches


tomorrow. It could be very breezy around Merseyside. Aston Villa's


match should be fine and dry. We are generally gain to see an


increase in cloud as we go through tomorrow evening and tomorrow night.


As we go into a Sunday, it looks like quite a cloudy day generally.


The further east you are, the wetter it will be. Temperatures on


Sunday up to ten Celsius. Into next week, nothing much changes. It


stays mostly dry, often quite cloudy, not much in the way of


sunshine, but temperatures mild and wins lighter. After a stormy start


It has been keeping everybody awake, including me! A look at tonight's


main headlines: The Government's just announced it will not give in


to the mounting pressure over sub- standard breast implants. A review


has concluded there's no evidence to recommend their routine removal


from about 40,000 women in the UK. And counting down to the verdict


for the controversial high-speed rail link for the UK. That's from


6.30 on BBC One. We will be visiting the library which is


overtaken by community volunteers. And you were going to tell us


tonight what you thought of the Horse Whisperer. It was amazing. I


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