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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