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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