14/03/2012 Midlands Today


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


The headlines tonight: A warning that the country's


largest colliery may have to close with the loss of 800 jobs.


It will close in 2014 unless we can cut costs, increase our production


and maintain that increased production.


Arrested and led to a temporary police station in a supermarket car


park. Cracking down on offenders who'd failed to pay fines or obey


court orders. The message is that we are working


together as criminal justice partners. We will come knocking at


your door. You will be arrested and you will be put back before the


courts. Obesity's blamed for a significant


rise in the number of women suffering from cancer of the womb.


Womb cancer is one of the most common cancers linked to obesity.


And residents in tears after ancient oak trees are chopped down


to make way for a new shopping Good evening and welcome to


Midlands Today. Our top story this Wednesday evening:


Plans have been announced to shut the country's biggest coal mine.


Daw Mill in Warwickshire is the last deep coal mine in the Midlands,


employing 800 people. Owners UK Coal are in talks to shut


it by 2014 after profits fell. Daw Mill is now the UK's largest


remaining colliery, but it has been hit by productivity problems. A


four month gap in production resulted in losses of �75 million.


A two year pay freeze for staff was agreed, but the pit has failed to


meet its targets. So, is this the end of an era for


coal mining in the Midlands? Joan Cummins has this report. This has


been talked about for some time. You think it review will happen?


Who knows? I think it is fair to say that UK Coal have lost patience


with Daw Mill. I was told today that although there are 800 people


working here, the rest of the company across the country, and


that is around two and half 1000 jobs, have basically been a


supporting Daw Mill. It is fair to say that a few years ago, Daw Mill


was producing around 70 thousand tonnes of coal a week. At the


moment, that figure is down to 22,000. What UK Coal have said is


that they needed very quickly to get back up to 50 thousand tonnes a


week. What they have also said as they are not planning any future


development works. That means looking for new faces to crack into,


if I can use that sort of a man's term. If they do not actually crack


in, nothing will happen. But I have been told is that basically, Daw


Mill has been in what I would call a special message -- special


measures since before Christmas. Every day, the tonnage that has


been said that has been examined and they are trying to find ways of


increasing it further. More than 800 people worked at Daw


Mill. It is the last deep mine in the region. For them protection


Lego -- levels has bought the future of the pit in doubt. This is


no bluffer taught make people work harder. We need people to work hard


and be focused on getting protection going. If we are not


producing coal in a sufficient quantities and a smile is not


profitable by 2014, it will close. UK Coal say that for Daw Mill to


have any hope of a future, they must increase production from


22,000 tonnes a week to around 50,000 tonnes a week. A spokesman


for one of the mining unions said that closure was not an absolute


death it. He acknowledged as he put it, that production was in a bad


way. But he said that although the situation was serious, this was not


the end of Daw Mill. Minus drop more than half a mile underground


and then travelled to the coalface. Above ground, today's announcement


shocked villagers. Daw Mill has been a life-saver for quite a few


people. By Neil -- I know quite a few people that work out.


Everything it takes away jobs is sad. Of course it is sad. It is


taking away fallible jobs. 60 years ago, there were more than 1000


working pits in Britain. By 1981, this number had dropped to just 21.


But the thousands of miners that it once worked in the pits have


dwindled. This nearby area lost its pit in 1967. Local some form of


minor say the area have suffered. We did not have that camaraderie


again. We did not have a lot of money. We are all in the same vote.


Really bad news. I cannot see them chatting it. It is privately owned.


I think the Government will jump in. The progress of Daw Mill and


possible survival will be assessed on a weekly basis.


That news from Warwickshire comes on the day unemployment figures


went up again nationally, although there was a slight fall in the West


Midlands. 241,000 people are now out of work


across the region. That's a rate of 9.1%. That's a drop of 1,000, but


down 22,000 in the last year. Well, a little earlier, I spoke to


Professor David Bailey from Coventry Business School. I began


by asking him what effect the closure of Daw Mill colliery and


the loss of 800 jobs there would have? I hope it does not close.


This is an important plant. The biggest left in the UK. It would


have a big impact on the local community. It would have an impact


in terms of energy. We need as many different energy sources as


possible. It is an important place for the country. Why can't they


make it work? That is a very good question. The management of saying


there are geological factors which means it is more challenging to get


the Coalite than they thought. But also, I think the company has got


problems in terms of a big pile of debt. It is not clear that they can


afford to invest in a plan to make it viable. There is a two you been


do. Management and workers will have the opportunity to come up


with a better model, but the company will have to restructure.


Let us have a little look at the bigger jobs picture. A slight fall


in the number of unemployment in our region. Youth unemployment is a


big problem. We really do risk having a scarred a generation of


people who do not find we commend to not acquired skills and continue.


I certainly think the Government should do much more to try and


tackle youth unemployment. Next week is the budget. There is an


opportunity to give tax breaks to companies to take on young workers.


So unemployment is still worryingly high among young people and often


getting any kind of structured experience of work is their first


and biggest hurdle. But in Coventry, some out-of-work youngsters are


getting that all-important taste of the world of work through an


unusual route, ice hockey, as Ben Sidwell's been finding out.


Training of a very different kind. These aren't the latest stars of


the Coventry Blaze's ice hockey team, they're young unemployed


people looking to gain new skills in their search for a job. We have


seen how powerful the ice hockey is as a vehicle to get people engaged.


We thought we would use that vehicle to try and get them back


into employment. The club's Community Foundation has


set up a new �50,000 project, funded by Comic Relief. It's hoping


the chance to get on to the ice will attract those currently not in


education, employment or training. Contracts, temporary work, it isn't


very good if you have got a house and a child to pay for. You need a


permanent job. A career. But it is not all about ice hockey. There is


a more serious side to this as well. Training, learning more skills and


for these guys, the ultimate goal, employment.


The 23-week scheme includes workshops, placements and volunteer


opportunities. By the end, they'll have gained a Sport Leadership


Award and hopefully the tools they need to find work. People find it


hard. It is hard to find work. I would try and drive a forklift. By


have been in and out of it. I work for two days on an iron off for


rain and. There are around 20 young people on


this project and there's enough funding for two further courses. It


may only scratch the surface of the youth employment problem in the


city, but for these three, the sport of ice hockey could help to


And there's a special programme on the state of the region's economy


next week. Our Economy: The Midlands Today Debate is on Monday


night, here on BBC One at 11:05pm. Still ahead here on Midlands Today


this evening: How your weight could be putting


More than 60 arrests have been made during a police operation targeting


offenders who abuse the justice system by failing to pay fines and


obey court orders. They were brought to a temporary police


station in a supermarket car park where a new style fast-track


justice system was used to get them to court within minutes of their


arrest. Andy Newman reports. Justice 2012 staff. The place, this


car park in Wolverhampton. The issue, non-payment of fines. A


suspect is led to a mobile police station where, after the briefest


of legal formalities, they are walked across the tarmac and shown


to their specially reserved seats in the custody van. Destination,


the magistrates court. If you were wondering why this is all happening


on a supermarket car-park, apart from being highly visible, it is


much quicker. Offenders come reporter, Serge, process and then


sent court within minutes. It is fast justice on an almost


industrial scale. That scared reflected in the resources used.


This, one of a fleet of 14 arrest teams, scouring the estates of


Wolverhampton for offenders who what Fletcher the system by failing


to comply with court or does. Here, a disabled suspect is arrested for


non-payment of a six-under-par motoring fine. Just more than one


of six defenders mop up by Operation crackdown. We are working


together as criminal-justice partners. We will come knocking at


your door. He will be arrested. He will be back before the courts.


it is not just about bringing them to book. Also available to


offenders in the caravan, drugs counsellors offering immediate help.


It is important to be proactive, target these individuals, have the


support there for them and work together with the police and


probation to actually help people move forward. A two pronged


approach. Fast-tracked justice and immediate help and support. A wake-


up call for Wolverhampton's wanted. Tomorrow, the team will move to a


new application. They're not saying where.


A man's been arrested in the Stoke area of Coventry after he locked


himself in a vehicle and threatened to set himself on fire. It happened


at around 11:00am this morning after a debt recovery firm tried to


seize a minibus. Armed officers were first sent to the scene, but


stood down when they discovered the man was unarmed. I saw him and then


over to his fans. He jumped in. The police and fire engines turned up.


The next thing you know, there are people coming out on the streets,


saying there is a man in the van, thrown petrol around. And then I


drew the -- I drove away, came back a few hours later, the police were


still there and the next thing I knew, the man ran out of the van,


back into his house. A 16-year-old girl and a woman have


been arrested after cocaine worth about �350,000 was found hidden


inside tubs of chocolate. The pair, both from the Walsall area, were


detained at Gatwick Airport after arriving on a flight from Antigua.


They've been bailed until a date in June.


Obesity's being blamed for a big rise in the number of women with


womb cancer in the region. Researchers say it's become more


prevalent than cervical cancer. Research being carried out at the


University of Birmingham could help victims by using low cost drugs.


But surgery is the only option for many women, as Katie Rowlett


Linda Beck is 66, she has womb cancer, and doctors tell her it's


because she is overweight. I've always been big. I'd been a many


diets are my life. At had died Beatties and staff. -- I had a dire


BT's And today, in Birmingham Linda's womb is being removed in an


operation that will take around 2 hours. They carry out around 200


womb cancer operations every year at the city hospital and if early


at stage one - the survival rate of 5 years is in excess of 80%. Womb


cancer has been on the increase. Here in the West Midlands the rise


has been the steepest with cases up a third in a generation. The reason,


there are more overweight women here, than anywhere else in the


country. Dr Sudha Sundhar carried out Linda's operation as she has


with so many other women. We know that this increase is going to keep


on happening. We know that this cancer is one of the most common


ones are driven by obesity. Certainly, one of the things that


Spurs us on is the knowledge that many women are going to be


diagnosed with cancer. This is the only support group for women's


cancer in the region. Helping those in treatment or recovery: It's been


a heck of a journey. It's been a horrible. You have to get on with


it. You have to move on. This group is my lifeline. It's helped me, my


confidence, to have a purpose to get up at the morning. The positive


thing is that I have met so many people, thousands of new friends.


With surgery, survival rates are getting better, but low cost drugs,


including some designed to treat diabetes, are showing promise into


treating womb cancer in it's early stages.


Joining us now from our studio in Oxford is Sean Kehoe, from the


charity Wellbeing of Women and himself a cancer consultant. Thanks


for joining us Mr. Kehoe, is this link between womb cancer and


obesity a surprise? It's not really. The increase is quite significant.


We are heading towards 8,000 women with this condition. If you have


that, you retain a more female hormones, that increases your risk


of womb cancer. It doesn't seem to have the profile of breast cancer?


It doesn't at all. Some cancers only affect 80% of women, but they


do get a greater profile. What are the warning signs? The main sign is


women after the menopause, having a bleed. They should go to their


doctor. The vast majority will not have cancer, but they need to be


investigated. Thank you very much. Still ahead in tonight's programme:


The aircraft that blazed a trail for the jet age. Is this the last


chance to save them? And if it's rain you want, the wait's almost


over. The weekend may not be as warm as the last but it will be


wetter and that's what we need right now.


What's the best way to run Stoke- on-Trent? That's the question being


posed in a debate in the Potteries tonight. Historically the city was


part of Staffordshire. With a total population of just over a million,


all important services such as education were run county-wide.


That changed in 1997 when Stoke on Trent went alone and was given the


right to run affairs for its 240,000 citizens. But in an


increasingly competitive world, does Stoke have enough clout on its


own? Live now to BBC Radio Stoke's political reporter Elizabeth Glinka.


What are people saying tonight? you said, that's the question we


are going to be posing at BBC Radio Stoke, tonight, in about one hour's


time. The city still faces many challenges. It has had control


itself, it has an elected mayor, it is hailed as the BNP's jewel in the


crown. That has led some people to say it could do better if it was


part of a bigger our authority. There is a certain case to be said


for Ray Bigger a priority. It would have a much bigger chance of


attracting funds that we need to regenerate the area. One of the


people who is going to be debating this issue is councillor Sarah Hill,


she's a member of the city council. What you think? Would be a benefit


from being part of a bigger organisation? I think the point is


well made. It is an interesting concept. None of us want to go back


to being part of a county council. Finally, what is the answer moving


forward? I think the debate is a good opportunity to start talking


about what the next 15 years old brass. Things are going to change,


given the austerity we have as a country, and how we can make the


best use of our resources. I'm Looking forward to it this evening.


That debate will start in one hour's time, just down the road. If


listeners want to hear the debate, it will be on the Steward Of George


programme, both tomorrow and Friday. -- Stuart George.


There's anger and disbelief after a much-loved ring of oak trees was


felled to make way for a new shopping complex. The local council


allowed developers to chop them down after experts said they


wouldn't survive being moved. Sarah Falkland reports. I could cry. It's


so sad. Ann Turner can hardly believe her


eyes - big business has wiped out the ancient ring of oak trees in


Shirley Park. She's spent the best part of 30 years trying to protect


them from developers Soon to rise from the soil. I walked down this


path in the 1940s with my parents. All of a sudden, it is just gone.


How can you replace the 250-year- old trees? It incredible. Soon to


rise from the soil: 36 Parkgate, an �85m shopping and housing


development. The supermarket giant ASDA will be at the heart of it and


there'll be some 600 new jobs. But what happened to promises to keep


the trees? When developers won the right to build, on appeal, last


summer, Solihull council stipulated the trees be uprooted and replanted.


But in a statement today the But in a statement today the


authority said expert opinion showed the trees wouldn't have


survived the process...some had suffered fire damage and decay, so


had to be felled. But why so had to be felled. But why so


quickly residents ask? The reality is that the bird nesting season is


imminent, and we have to get on with the removal as quickly as


possible. Local MP Lorely Burt's described what's happened here as a


betrayal of the people of Shirley. She's angry the trees have been


felled before she had the chance to chain herself to one of them. A


small piece of oak salvaged from the site is little consolation for


Ann and her husband. On Friday there'll be a vigil here for


residents to formally say goodbye to the landscape they've held dear.


Football and the Birmingham City manager Chris Hughton admits his


team is going through a difficult period, after their latest defeat


to play-off rivals Leicester. Wade Elliot's penalty put the Blues in


Elliot's penalty put the Blues in front. But the lead didn't last


long. Jermaine Beckford made it 1-1 before half-time. And then two


goals in the last ten minutes sealed a 3-1 victory for Leicester.


Birmingham drop one place to eighth in the Championship. But they still


have a game in hand on most of the have a game in hand on most of the


teams above them. It's a sad day for many West


Bromwich Albion fans. Ray Barlow, one of the club's truly great


players, has died at the age of 85. Ray was the last surviving member


of the Albion team to win the FA Cup at Wembley in 1954. He played


almost five hundred games for the club, but only once for England. He


was voted in the top 16 players of all-time by West Brom fans. The


club said Ray Barlow was a true legend, and a world-class


footballer. You're a big fan of him once you? -


- won't you? Bobby Moore said he styled his play on him. I saw him


at a charity match. They've been all but abandoned for


more than a decade but now some of the country's most historic


aircraft are getting a permanent home in Gloucestershire. The Jet


Age Museum was split up twelve years ago and the collection has


been stored, out of sight, in barns ever since. Sabet Choudhury reports


from the planned new home for the museum at Gloucestershire Airport.


They were pride of the RAF. Cutting technology built by the Gloster


Aircraft Company. But now many of them lie weathered and broken,


waiting to be rebuilt for the new Jetage Museum. Some of them have


deteriorated. The aircraft fuselages made a balsa wood. --


made of a balsa wood. It's taken John and other trustees the over


ten years to raise the �250,000 pounds they need for the museum.


sounds as if it's not much money, in this then aged isn't. To try and


raise that money to house old aeroplanes, which people refer to


as pieces of rusty metal, is very difficult. In asking people whether


they want a museum, everybody wants to have an aviation museum, but


then you say, please give us some money, and they say, no. Of course


not all of planes are in pieces, some like this Gamecock hidden away


in a barn in the countryside is already being re-constructed. Once


flown by world war 2 fighter pilot Douglas Bader. Today this is the


only one of it's kind in existence. Once the museum is open this will


be the centrepiece of the museum. A replica of the E28 - the first


british jet plane. Built in 1941 in Gloucestershire to test Sir Frank


Whittle jet propulsion system. Sidney Dix, now 93, was just a


teenager when he worked on the project at the Gloster Aircraft


Company. It was the best colour my life. It was like making a model


airplane. We have to mark all the ribs on the Template. Sidney is


hopeful the new museum, will inspire future generations. Giving


them a chance to see the wonders that once ruled the skies.


I wonder how these guys are looking I wonder how these guys are looking


tonight and tomorrow? I will tell you.


We had a delay on the sunshine, that put a cap on the temperatures.


Tomorrow will be the warmest day of the week. We will see some rain


coming in from the West, from Friday into the weekend. That


produced quite a deluge of rain. It will give us some light relief.


Back to the presence, and because of that late sunshine, we are


looking at clear skies to start tonight. That's going to lead to a


cooler night, temperatures dropping to a minimum of two-or three


degrees -- two-to-three degrees. It will be a cooler night. A cloudy


start tomorrow, we will see some sunshine, hopefully it will be the


warmest day of the week. Temperatures should reach at 12-13


degrees. Tomorrow night, the cloud will thicken up. The first signs


are rain will appear over Wales. That will hold off for us,


appearing on Saturday. Some showers appearing on Saturday. Some showers


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