03/02/2012 Midlands Today


The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 03/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


The headlines tonight. Chaos and frustration, as a


derailment leaves thousands of train travellers stranded. It's sad


that we seem to have a rail system that is not as efficient and


effective as business needs and the country needs.


As the cold snap continues, preparations are underway for


widespread snowfalls. Mick McCarthy admits he has had


words with his chairman. I've spoken to him and it's been sorted


out. He knows my feelings on it... And that's enough for me.


Under Paralympic medallist whose hopes for 2012 could fall at the


first hard will after his horse Good evening, welcome to Friday's


Midlands Today, from the BBC. Tonight, frustration for thousands


of rail passengers after a train derailed, throwing journeys to the


capital into chaos. The West Coast Main Line was closed when a freight


engine came off the tracks at Bletchley, near Milton Keynes. That


meant passengers between Birmingham and London were forced to try to


switch to alternative services, and all on one of the busiest days of


the week on the railways. Giles Latcham is at New Street Station


now. How's it looking there tonight? Better than it was. It's


busy on the concourse but that's usually the way on a Friday night.


The good news, though - the West Coast Main Line has been partially


re-opened and services are now running again. Not quite back to


normal but, thankfully, after a difficult, trying day, things are


improving. Hold that train. A ten-minute dash


from one station to another. One way of keeping warm on what, for


some, proved a trying day. information at all on the internet


that helped and I phoned a National Rail Enquiries and they had no idea


how I could get to London either. usually use the Euston line. I had


to go to Moor Street. And then my fight was cancelled as well! So I


am going home! A stream of Virgin and London Midland passengers


unable to travel down the West Coast Main Line from New Street


became a flood heading for Moor Street, where Chiltern Trains still


running to London Marylebone took the strain. On a Friday heading


into the weekend rush hour, a degree of chaos and confusion is


inevitable, but rail companies who normally are fighting each other


say today has been all about corporation. Many Virgin passengers


were very impressed with staff giving them as much information as


they could about their onward journeys. If Tickets were honoured


and extra carriages laid on. Even a tough-talking former politician


trying to get to a radio studio pronounced himself satisfied.


Everyone has been dead helpful, dead friendly! Good information and


everybody is trying. Can't blame anybody but you just have to get


this sorted out quickly. The cause of all this - a freight engine


derailed in the early hours near Milton Keynes. The driver injured,


and tracks and and overhead cables damaged. By mid-afternoon, a


limited number of trains began running again, but services won't


be back to normal possibly for several days.


More on the situation now. The West Coast Main Line is made up of four


lines. Two of them reopened at about 3.40pm this afternoon. There


are now two Virgin services an hour running between London and the West


Midlands. Normally you'd have three. And two an hour between here and


Manchester. London Midland services to Euston are going only as far as


Northampton and then you're on a bus. The advice, as ever, check


ahead. And looking ahead, two of the lines remain closed tonight.


The damage is quite substantial and will take several days to repair.


Virgin are warning that there could be disruption for several days yet.


Officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch have begun an


inquiry into what caused this derailment.


Freezing temperatures this weekend are likely to bring snow and ice,


and with it, a fair amount of disruption on our roads. Among


those most at risk in these sub- zero conditions are elderly people,


of course. Steve Knibbs has been out with a volunteer who's making


sure they stay safe. It is a busy time for this project


in Gloucester. They helped take the homeless off the streets. This man


I sleep for an hour, an hour and a half but then I wake up and move on.


Like others here, he knows the night shelter will save lives.


Without people like this, I wouldn't cope. Most of us would


have died. I don't know... What would happen. For workers spend a


lot of their time looking for those sleeping rough, and in cold weather,


it is more important than ever. main priority is to get out and


look for those sleeping outside. These temperatures can kill.


these woods, food and blankets are left for a man who chooses to make


this place his home, and he will be sleeping out tonight. We will keep


an eye on him. The medical team will give him bits of extra food,


build up a relationship. For those with a roof over their head, the


dangers of cold weather can still hit. Sallyanne Batchelor is a


village agent in Gloucestershire and regularly visits the elderly


not just to make sure they are warm, but safe. They wrap up in a blanket


but the rest of the house is freezing cold, so it is good to pop


round and make sure things are fine. People know that or they have got


to do is phone and Sally will be there. For many, that knock on the


door is a lifeline. Talking of the cold, Ben's been


watching the weather maps for us. And it's looking like snow? Yes, it


certainly feels like winter's arrived now. Temperatures are


already down to minus one Celsius here in Birmingham and we're


expecting a spell of snow tomorrow. If you're travelling this weekend,


make sure you join me for the Manufacturers need to invest in


skills, innovation and better design to win back lost export


orders, according to a top business analyst today. Lord Digby Jones was


speaking at the launch of a new software company on the site of the


old MG Rover works in Birmingham. China leads the list of countries


winning business that once went to Midlands firms. In 2000, British


imports from China stood at �4.8 billion. But in just a decade, that


had gone up to �30.6 billion. There are signs, though, that the Chinese


are no longer having it all their own way, as Cath Mackie's been


finding out. The jet engine, the Mini, the


microchip and fine bone china. Inventions which transformed the


way we live. All designed in the West Midlands. Fast-forward to the


21st century, and innovators across the region are ready once again to


take on the world. Like Newgate Clocks in Oswestry. For 21 years,


they've designed their own products and they're about to bring


manufacturing back from China to their Shropshire base. We are a


British company and we thrive on British design. And we can shout


about the fact it is also made in Britain and fry the British flag


over our products as well. Elsewhere in Birmingham and


Worcester, two more companies coming up with unique designs. Gary


Bryant, from Birmingham, has just invented a new secure clasp for


earrings. We are particularly good at precision things and that is


where this actual product is so precise, it is made 200th of a


millimetre. That is where I found it brilliant working with great


engineers. Nick Grey in Worcester thinks it's time the region claimed


the design and innovation crown. His company in Worcester creates


cleaning and gardening products. China of a superpower in


manufacturing but we can be the superpower in design. We have the


skills and we are built for design. We are confident and eccentric and


inventor and, -- inventive, so British people might the best


designers. -- make the best designers. This is another place


where a design revolution is said to be taking place - the Longbridge


Technology Park in Birmingham. On the site where the iconic Mini was


born, a new company is inventing what it calls groundbreaking


software, to take on the IT giants. At the helm is the former Trade


Minister, Lord Digby Jones. He says we need to invest more in giving


the right skills to young people. It is no good Birmingham and the


West Midlands thinking, tell you what, we can make things that sell


on price, commodities. We can provide services you can get


anywhere. China will have your lunch and India will have your


dinner. We need to design things, be innovative, in what is called


value added. Add something to this. The region's inventors, designers


and innovators will be showcasing their talents at the spring fair in


the NEC this weekend. And they'll be trying to win back business


that's gone to China and the emerging economies.


Hard-pressed local authorities are having to find millions more from


already-stretched budgets to cover a sharp rise in fines for sending


their waste to landfill. In Worcestershire, for example, the


County Council is now having to pay out in landfill tax around four


times the amount it spends on buses. Our political reporter, Tom Turrel,


has more. A growing landfill mountain in


Worcestershire and it is costing our councils dear. Locals


authorities have to pay a so-called landfill tax, essentially a


government fine, to encourage them to hit European recycling targets.


But the problem is, despite the fact our landfill waste is going


down, the fines are going up. More and more of us on recycling a


rubbish and it is ending up in places like this. But that is not


enough to keep Brussels happy. people has to me, if we had done


what the Germans and Dutch had done, we would be well away. But we are


where we are. We are doing more recycling now than I ever thought


possible. And with budget under more and more pressure, the


landfill tax is proving a real headache. In the financial year


2005-2006, the County Council cent at 262,000 tonnes to landfill and


paid �3.4 million in tax. But in 2010-2011, we sent to -- 27,000


tonnes but fine had gone up to �5.8 million. This has caught the eye of


MEPs on the Continent. This should be for the Westminster government


and not for Bristol, because we should be able to spend our money


any meaningful way and not be fined by the EU. But the reality is, if


we are going to reduce our carbon emissions and catch up with our


European neighbours, the answer does not lie with poles in the


ground. If people had understood earlier the drive behind


sustainability and taken on the Green Party message a bit more, we


could have avoided a lot of the pain of landfill tax. So what's


most agree landfill is not the way forward, unless a councils stop


burying rubbish in the ground, they will continue to throw away good


money after bad. And this weekend's Sunday Politics


will be taking the lid off rubbish, and looking at how your area could


beat it -- affected by landfill taxes.


You can find out more on the Week were 200 Rae anniversary of


Charles Dickens is been mocked it was the country. One very special


guest at what be joining the celebrations this weekend.


This is a place at Charles Dickens used to frequent. He has performed


on this very stage and it's the location for Shrewsbury's Dickens


weekend. I will introduce that special guest in a moment, but


before that, I have spent the day finding out more about the town's


connection to one of England's greatest writers.


Light Charles Dickens, this hotel has many a tale to tell. Little has


changed inside this sweet. Charles Dickens always asked to stay here


when visiting the town. Charles Dickens stayed hair twice, possibly


more. Although Charles Dickens would not recognise the hi-tech


gadget hear it now, much of what he wrote about in a letter to one of


his daughters still remains. windows bulge out over the street


as if they were little store windows in a ship and a door opens


out into the sitting room and a gallery. People like staying in the


Dickens suite. Are they like the never ending corridors. It is not


just this hotel that has connections with Charles Dickens.


The town's musical is one place he performed on a number of occasions.


Even after his death, Dickens and Shrewsbury were still intertwined.


A multi- million pound movie of A Christmas Carol was Fonte in 1984


and Ebenezer Scrooge's grave still remains at one of the local


churches. Dickens would have stayed in the front room of this hotel and


performed right here on the stage. He may not have been born or even


lived here, but despite that, the people of Shrewsbury are proud of


the stories they have to tell about their town and Charles Dickens.


Well, they will be showing a Christmas Carol over the weekend,


but without a doubt, a highlight is this gentleman here. This is


Charles Dickens's great-great- grandson. What we be doing this


weekend? It is exciting for me to be here. I will be part of this


wonderful festival and performing to showers of my own in this room


where Charles Dickens performed. Some of the things that Charles


Dickens himself would have performed here in Shrewsbury will


be part of your act, when to it. Yes. He was not born here, but he


loved it. A absolutely. Some of his novels were set here. He loves this


hotel and one of the readings I am doing will be one that he gave


previously. The fact you are performing on the stage and staying


in the room where you great-great- grandfather state, it must be nice.


Be it will be exciting. We will see overnight whether he approves.


There are also some walking tours around Shrewsbury, all part of the


Dickens weekend. There are still a few tickets left if you want to go.


Back to the studio. He does look spookily like his


great great grandfather. Fascinating stuff. Time for the


sport now. Words have been sent between Mick McCarthy and the


chairman. The Wolves manager Mick Mccarthy


says he's spoken to chairman Steve Morgan about him coming into the


dressing room after matches. Morgan made his feelings known to the


players after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Liverpool. Now McCarthy has made


Every picture tells a 1,000 words and this moment lead to plenty more


been spoken in the dressing room. Steve Morgan's pain on Tuesday


night was self-evident as Wolves slumped against Liverpool. Manager


Mick McCarthy was a happy either, but for him, Morgan coming into the


dressing room did not help. I have spoken to him about that and that


has been sorted out. Did you feel undermined by that. A I have spoken


to him and that has been sorted out. He knows my feelings. -- I have


spoken. I don't need to give everyone a headline. Even if


relationships are strained, Morgan told us he is not one of knee-jerk


reactions. This is not a hire and fire club. I don't run my business


is like that. That does not need to say we are soft on things. We say


what we have to say behind closed doors. And clearly he did, but


lives do not -- but life does not get easier for Wolves. They are


playing a wave to QPR tomorrow. I had an instant remedy, it would


have been done and we would have been sorted out. The club need a


response that can get a result. Wolves has a new signing -


Sebastien Bassong signed on loan from Tottenham. They need something


to change if they are to climb out of their current slump and the


bottom three of the Premier League. You can hear more of that interview


on aware Facebook page. -- our were faced full page.


Away from that, I hear the weather is playing havoc with the football


schedule. That's right. In League Two, Shrewsbury Town's


home match with Port Vale is off because parts of the pitch are


frozen. Cheltenham's game with AFC Wimbledon and Hereford's trip to


Gillingham are also postponed. Also the Birmingham game. There could be


a problem. It's the dream of every British


Olympian and Paralympian to compete in front of a home crowd at the


games in London this summer. But for one young medal prospect time


is running out to find the essential partner to keep the dream


of glory on home turf alive. Lee Pearson and Ricky Balshaw are


best of friends off their horses, but on them they are rivals for


Paralympic gold in London this summer. There is one rather large


snag though - Ricky's competition horse is struggling to recover from


injury. Finding a suitable replacement could cost more than


�20,000. I need a horse yesterday. That is how tight it is. For me to


go to the games it will take something special. I will need a


fantastic horse and then I will need to beat Pearson every time.


Stuart was a tough time for all of them. -- last year. It is


ridiculous. I can't get anything right. There is a pressure of


making sure you qualify for the Games.


No-one knows more about winning than Lee. Nine times a Paralympic


gold has been hung round his neck, but in this year above all, he's


taking nothing for granted. selectors will be roofless and if I


do not get results, I went be selected. I am a feeling confident.


-- I am. These games will be life- changing, Bob British athletes,


especially Paralympic athletes. would be a shame if these bright


stars were denied the chance to go head-to-head in London. We are


looking at out for you and keeping a would fingers crossed. -- hour.


Dressage is a sport demanding calm and control.


A band almost missed out on their big television break when their van


and all their instruments were stolen. It happened just hours


before The Musgraves were due to appear on a recording for the


Graham Norton Show on BBC One. Despite the theft the Birmingham


based four-piece have became the first unsigned band without an


album deal to appear on the show. Ben Godfrey's been to meet them.


The Graham Norton Show has seen the likes of Madonna and Coldplay


entertain the studio audience, so a modest pop-folk band from


Birmingham seem unlikely showstoppers.


Meet The Musgraves. It's been a memorable week. On Monday morning,


their van was stolen in Lichfield, along with a violin, a piano, two


guitars, a personalised drum kit, SatNavs, even the lead singer's new


It has definitely been stolen when you see that. It was unbelievable


when we were in the studio doing the show. Every so often we would


think, we have got no staff. It was weird. You go from excited to, you


know. The Musgraves had to quickly borrow


instruments to record The Graham Norton Show. The presenter became a


fan when he played their debut single Last Of Me' on his Radio 2


show. But their first radio audience was


last year on the music show BBC WM Introducing. It was something that


made them stand ahead of others. They have done so well and it does


not surprise us that they have gone up on to the The Graham Norton Show.


The band's been rehearsing for a gig tonight - a more low-key affair


at a pub in Birmingham. On Twitter today Graham Norton said he would


stop a showbiz search for the instruments. Just so you know,


Oprah Winfrey would have given him a house. Hopefully something good


will come of it all and it works up for the best.


While the Musgraves are busy lining up gigs, Staffordshire Police are


trying to locate this white van and the band's many instruments. That


is so cruel. Your big break. I know. And you can catch The Musgraves on


The Graham Norton Show on BBC One at 10.35 tonight - that's straight


after our late news. Ben's got more now on what seems to


be a snowy and icy weekend. Yes, a very wintry forecast coming


up. But first, 2,500 snow champions are ready to spring into action in


Sandwell. The council's handed out shovels and tubs of salt to


volunteers so they can help their communities. They will clear an


elderly neighbour's path for example, or the pavement outside


their home. I just think when times are hard, people do tend to mark in


a bit more. It is a great idea. It is a work community. It is not up


to the council to do everything for us. We need to get involved. Thank


goodness for those no champions this weekend because some of the


white stuff is in the forecast. The Met Office has issued an amber


warning. Nothing too disruptive tonight though. It is fine and dry


and quiet, but under the clear skies, temperatures will plummet


down to around-eight Celsius. -- around minus eight Celsius.


Tomorrow, cold air to the east, mild air tried to come in off the


Atlantic. Were you see the weather fronts to the west, that is the


front line of the battle. Wet weather that will turn wintry as we


go to the day. As we go to the day, there will be bright spells to


start. Increasing cloud and during the afternoon outbreaks of sleet


and snow. There could be up to four inches of snow that could be


disruptive on a very cold day. That noble persist for some of us into


the evening. But in the West we could see Marles et al working its


way in which will turn a bit of it back to rain before it clears.


Temperatures will still be below freezing which will mean an icy


start on Sunday. Sunday is a quite a day there and and would be as


cold. If you are travelling this weekend, and I cannot stress this


enough, there is a chance of snow and ice that could cause


disruptions to your travel plans. If you want to keep up with the


latest, tune into your BBC local radio station. A cold weekend with


snow on the way. The main headlines - the


environment secretary Chris Huhne resigned after being accused of


Download Subtitles