08/10/2013 Midlands Today


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The headlines tonight: Failing in almost every respect — a scathing


report on one of the newest prisons in the country. There are calls to


shut oak—wood Prison in Staffordshire for good. We'll have


live reaction. Also tonight, a sex abuse charity


says it's overwhelmed by an 80% increase in cases since the Jimmy


Savile scandal came to light. I don't think any service in the land


can cope at the moment. Jimmy Savile has opened the biggest Pandora's box


you've ever seen. The changing face of the


countryside, with four large solar energy farms in the planning.


Reviving the wildlife, as an old quarry's transformed in a ten—year


plan to restore a Shropshire beauty spot.


And Shefali has the weather. After a lengthy run of warm weather, we may


have to finally say goodbye to it after today. The cold is about to


set in — join me later for the forecast.


Good evening. Failing in almost every respect — that's the damning


conclusion of the Chief Inspector of Prisons, following an unannounced


visit to oak—wood Prison near Wolverhampton. The private prison is


run by G4S and only opened in April 2012. It can hold more than 1600


prisoners. The report found that levels of violence and victimisation


were high, that drugs were easier to get than soap, and that prisoners


were frustrated by staff inexperience and their inability to


get things done. Sarah Falkland has been investigating what this means


for the future of the prison. When it opened, G4S said it would be


the best prison in the world. So what's gone wrong at oak—wood — the


prison some have now dubbed "Jokewood?" Oak—wood may be big and


impressive, but it has big problems, and this latest report makes for


some quite disturbing reading. Inmates saying it's as easy to get


hard drugs as it is to get a bar of soap, sex offenders not being


properly rehabilitated, and staff here are said to be passive to the


point of collusion. The Chief Inspector of Prisons says his report


into conditions at oak—wood is possibly the most damning he's ever


compiled. It wasn't safe, health care was very poor, one in seven of


the prisoners said they had developed a drug problem while in


prison, and there simply wasn't enough purposeful activity for


prisoners to do, so they weren't kept occupied by work or training.


He says too many inexperienced staff lie at the heart of problems here.


G4S' head of prisons says just 15% of the total 300 staff at oak—wood


have had experience of the prison service — that's less than half than


what he would have hoped for. Remember, this is a growth period,


and the staff are now six months more experienced than they were when


the inspectors came in. I know from personal experience across many


establishments that staff take a while to get used to the custodial


environment, which is a strange environment and can be very


challenging. And so they get more expertise in dealing with prisoners


and fellow human beings. In the Commons, the Shadow Justice


Secretary asked if the Government now wanted to rethink its plans for


so—called "super prisons." "To my mind, it's an excellent model for


the future of the Prison Service." That's what the current Justice


Secretary told us earlier this year. Do you stand by those words? The


Justice Secretary Chris Grayling conceded there was work to be done,


or as one former inmate put it, in his opinion, G4S weren't ready for


the London Olympics and they weren't ready for oak—wood. You We're joined


now by Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for


Penal Reform. Good evening to you. You refer to the prison as Jokewood


and say it should close — that is very strong stuff! Are actually,


it's not funny. It is not really joke, but the inmates and staff


apparently called best. Don't forget, you and I pay for this


through taxes, and G4S is making a profit, so something is going very


seriously wrong. When there are high levels of violence and the chief


inspectors prisons say he can trust what is being said. Prisoners are


coming out into the community without any proper support and


inevitably, will commit more crimes and more violent crimes do. Surely


it is hardly an option to close a prison so soon after it opens, when


presumably its facilities are in top order, "an excellent facility?" To


be the government are threatening to


close a school today, and... They say the facilities there are in top


order, so surely it just needs sorting or improving? The building


is new, but what is going on inside is a disaster area in every possible


way. The chief inspector said it is failing in every way, and of course


it should close. It should be a planned closure so it is done


safely, but G4S is not running this properly, and it is not safe for the


public. Would you then abandoned the building? I would, and let G4S pay


for it. It is their problem. Surely the whole point of an inspection is


to find where there is room for improvements? The chief inspected


didn't find any areas where there could be improvements, only the


building was good. This is very serious. People may come out and


commit more crimes, so this is the problem for us, facing people who


may have had their legs made worse by going into prison. The prospect


for staff, prisoners, and victims is a very poor, and the taxpayer is


paying into the profits of G4S for the privilege of this. Thank you


very much. And you can read more about how private prisons are


performing across the country, as well more analysis about oak—wood,


on the BBC's website for the Black Country. Plenty more ahead,


including: He's less than a year old, but he's already stopped


breathing more than 20 times — but why?


A Black Country charity which helps people who've been sexually abused


says they can't cope with the number of people contacting them since the


allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile first came to light. It's a


year since the documentary highlighting the historic abuse was


broadcast. And, as Cath Mackie's been finding out, it's had a huge


impact on victims as well as the authorities trying to deal with


their cases. This report contains flashing images.


One year ago, and Jimmy Savile's face is in the news. The face of a


prolific sex offender who'd fooled the nation. Watching her TV at home


in the Midlands was a woman we've called Yvonne. Her words are spoken


by someone else to protect her identity. I always felt sorry for


the victims, not knowing that I was a victim. I just went to bed, we'd


watched the 10pm News, and then, when I woke up the next morning,


there were all these vivid images. Yvonne was remembering sexual abuse


she suffered as a child. Memories which had been buried for years.


Pandora just opened her box, and now it's there. It can't be put back


away. Do you have any idea how long you were abused for? Years.


Throughout childhood? Yeah. It sounds extraordinary — almost


unbelievable — until you discover her abuser has since confessed to


the police. I'm frightened to go to sleep now in some ways, because I


don't know what I'm going to wake up with the next morning, and that's


exactly what happened. I went to bed and walk up the next morning with


all these images. The police referred Yvonne to Crisis Point — a


charity in Walsall which helps victims of rape and sex abuse.


They've seen an 84% rise in calls to their helpline, with more than 1100


calls in just six months. Can you cope as a service with the amount of


people bringing your hotline? Of course not. I don't think any


service in the land can cope at the moment. Jimmy Savile has opened the


biggest Pandora's box you've ever seen. Police, too, are under


pressure. The West Midlands Force is investigating 170 more cases of


historic abuse this year than last, and they're now reviewing whether to


increase staffing levels in public protection. Officers can cope, but


they have seen an increase in their personal workloads, and in many


cases there carrying significantly higher workloads. Subsequent cases,


like the jailing of Stuart Hall for a series of indecent assaults,


usually results in more calls for help. We need more money. We always


need more money and need to employ more people. Police say despite the


pressure, every case is investigated, and they are securing


more convictions. Yvonne is glad she's spoken out. This person dead


wrong, and —— this person dead wrong and I don't know how many years it


has been, but for me, I need justice.


A Coventry man has appeared in court, charged with murdering a


3—year—old girl in the city two years ago. Mariam Alam died in


hospital after ambulance crews were called to a house in the Foleshill


area of the city. Kamran Khalid denies murdering her, but he's


admitted perverting the course of justice.


Jaguar Land Rover have announced they're to stop production of the


Defender model. The last vehicle will roll off the production line at


the company's Solihull plant in December 2015. Although the name has


only existed since the 1990s, the vehicle has close links to the


original Land Rover from 1948. More than 6000 people have


registered to use a car rental scheme, set up in Birmingham earlier


in the year. Car2Go members can rent one of the 250 vehicles parked


anywhere around the city. Most journeys are under three miles — a


figure that leaves environmentalists with mixed views on the scheme's


value. If it's replacing journeys that are cycleable or walkable, and


they're just a quick hop round the city centre where people might have


walked previously, then obviously that's kind of increasing carbon


emissions and the environmental cost.


Not so long ago, the outlook for solar energy was definitely cloudy,


with subsidies being cut and grim talk that much of the industry would


be going out of business. In fact, the Midlands is seeing a solar boom,


including large scale solar farms — many of them in Shropshire. And


that's where our environment correspondent David Gregory—Kumar


has spent the day, David, I gather there are plans for a solar farm


near the village where you are? That's right. This is Condover, just


south of Shrewsbury. And in the village hall today, people have been


getting a first proper look a plans for a local solar farm. Really, the


people here are at the sharp end of a resurgence in the sector.


Inside Condover village hall plans are unveiled for a solar farm. So


what do local people think? 99% in favour. I think the only issue I


would have is probably some of the visual impact from various


viewpoints around needs to be addressed carefully. I think it's


good what they're doing, and I think it's good that animals can still


place. I think it's a good proposal. Here are some of the larger solar


farms in planning or being built in the Midlands. The largest being


planned is at a quarry in Burton upon Trent — 62500 panels. In


Shropshire, there are two schemes of around 35000, including Condover.


And Telford and Wrekin Council wants to build a 20000 panel scheme at


Wheat Leasows. If built, and when the sun is shining, the four schemes


could provide power for 65000 homes, or about half of Shrewsbury's energy


needs. But at the UK's biggest solar power conference in Birmingham


today, the Government was keen to stress it wants responsible


development of our countryside. I do not want to see inappropriate solar


developments in beautiful countryside. There is a place in


some cases first solar on brown field sites and low—grade


agricultural land, but it must be screened and muscle discarded beauty


of the countryside. And big solar farms might be good news for our


Midlands wildlife. We're seeing in interest from local wildlife trusts


in the —— looking at creating habitats. A lot of wild flowers and


habitats for birds and thinks and we're small animals within a fenced


off wildlife refuge, if you like. If Condover goes ahead, it could be


twice the size of this Nottinghamshire solar farm. Green


energy generator and wildlife haven — or blot on the landscape?


Well, let's talk now to the people involved in this. Jane is from the


solar building company working with the land. Many of the people we


talked to were happy, but many people were also not happy. That is


very true. Their prime concerned was due to visual impact of the site,


and we're going to listen to those comments and do what we can to


mitigate it, but overall, I think it was very positive. It is a big


project for the area, and I think we will see the benefits of the amount


of renewable energy that will be generated, so generally positive. It


is a bit of a boom, as we said in my report. Why are so many of these


farms appearing in Shropshire? I don't think there's a huge density


here. There is a good limitation, but in the UK, is an interesting


market. The support for the renewables is strong, and healthy,


and I don't think it's overgenerous. But it allows developers to take


place, and I think there are some opportunities. You say there is a


problem with the great in Shropshire. As it up to this? We


have struggled to find suitable capacity, and I think that issue is


generally a problem with the UK. The country does have a limit on how


much exploit can be made into the existing grid structure, and it's


hard to see how the renewables targets can be met within that red


constraint. It is a concern. Thank you very much, James. Tonight, we


will be live at the solar conference in Birmingham and taking the


temperature of the industry. This is our top story tonight:


Failing in almost every respect: a scathing report on one of the newest


prisons in the country. Your detailed weather forecast to come


shortly from Shefali. Also in tonight's programme —


restoring the breathtaking beauty of one of Shropshire's most famous


tourist destinations. And we catch up with Brummie comic


Joe Lycett as he returns to his home city for the comedy festival.


A mother from Coventry is desperate for answers about why her baby son


stops breathing and appears lifeless, only to recover minutes


later. Despite tests at her local hospital, everyone is still baffled


about what's happening. Nicole Drakeford has been speaking to our


reporter Kevin Reide. Baby Kyle looks as healthy as any


other 10—month—old, but since he was born, his mum says he's suddenly


stopped breathing more than 20 times. It was his older sister that


first noticed it. I was playing with him, and he stopped breathing and


went pale and grey. It really scared me and I didn't know what to do. For


his mum, it means keeping an eye on him 20 47. I can't leave him. The


minute he goes to bed, I am panicking and making sure he is OK.


I hate him being away from me. In spite of numerous hospital fillets,


he has not been diagnosed with anything wrong, and to hospitals are


at a loss. The hospital said they turned out numerous tests, but they


said they will continue to monitor him and he has an appointment with a


consultant at the end of the year. Less than one in 1000 is well


present with episodes like this, and in two and three quarters of them,


we may find a particular medical reason for those events, but around


about one quarter we will never find a reason for it, and those of the


cases that we need to continue to observe and monitor, giving that the


assurance that we expected the baby will in time great of it. I left


thinking, has been missed something? I want them to find something so


that they can get him the help that he needs. His mother has been


advised what to do if this happens again, unfortunately, the chances


are he will grow out of it. The Birmingham Brummies speedway


team will have to be on top form next Monday night, if they're to win


the Elite League Grand Final. In last night's first leg, the Brummies


were well below par, losing away to Poole Pirates by 57—36. They'll need


to make the most of their home advantage at Perry Barr in the


second leg if they're to overturn that 21—point deficit.


Stoke City are to be granted the Freedom of the City of


Stoke—on—Trent. The club was one of the founder members of the Football


League, and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The Stoke


City chairman Peter Coates says it's a great honour for the club.


And staying with sport, a reminder that time's running out for you to


submit your nominations for this year's BBC Midlands Sports Unsung


Hero Award. We're looking for an individual or pair aged16 or over


who give their time on a voluntary basis to help others to participate


in sport. You can download a nomination form on the BBC Sport


website or call 0845 308 8000 and we'll send one to you. Calls cost up


to 5p a minute from a landline, but may be more from mobiles. The


closing date is Wednesday week, that's October the 16th.


"On Wenlock Edge, the wood's in trouble, His forest fleece the


Wrekin heaves." Perhaps you know AE Housman's famous poem about that


inspiring Shropshire beauty spot. Well, for years, it's been scarred


by a limestone quarry, but now work's begun to transform it and


bring back its wildlife and native plants. It's owned by a renewable


energy company which initially faced opposition. Joanne Writtle's been to


see the start of the regeneration. The lunar—like landscape of this


former quarry is being restored so that it can be returned to its


natural state. How much of a challenge is it turning what was an


industrial landscape back to nature? It is, actually, very challenging,


but it's a very rare opportunity to do such habitat creation on this


scale. So we are very, very excited. The land now belongs to a renewable


energy company employing 50 people. It buys in timber and produces wood


chip fuel. But the years of quarrying have left its scars.


Ecologists have been brought in to advise to advise on the 10—year


regeneration. The lagoon is part of the legacy of the quarry, the


quarrying that has been done so far, and in order to maximise the


biodiversity of the quarry, we are levelling out gradients in order to


create more valuable habitats. When the company first took over a week


ago, it faced opposition from those eager to preserve this geologically


important site on Shropshire's Wenlock Edge. We're standing on


20—odd miles of really nationally important wildlife site, and it


would be fantastic to see the whole lot going back, but we've got to


compromise. We can live with that, and we would really like to work


with the company to get the best deal we possibly can. It's hard to


imagine that 400 million years ago, this area was a tropical sea bed. It


is common to find fossils here, even coral, and that's why this area is


so important in geological circles. There are plans for a visitors


centre and large swathes of land will be open to the public. We did


get a lot of objections. We didn't think they were very well—informed


objections, but we have listened to them and we have acted on those, but


I think the end result is actually positive for all involved. It will


take time for the wildlife and native plants to return here. But


work has begun, and it's hoped that nature will soon take care of the


rest. Comedians from all over the UK are


in Birmingham this week for the annual comedy festival. This year,


Hollywood star Russell Brand is one of the big names to come to the


city. The festival also showcases local talent such as Barbara Nice


and Joe Lycett, who we'll be meeting in a moment. But first, our arts


reporter Satnam Rana joins us from an exhibition. What has this got to


do with comedy? Well, the Birmingham comedy festival


isn't just about stand—up comedians and their acts. It is also about


showcasing some of the other characters connected to the comedy


industry here, and behind me, we have a very unique exhibition of


some of the classic characters from through the decades of British


comedy. The man behind this is Steve. What is the inspiration for


this? Well, I actually grew up on them when I was a kid, I absolutely


loved them, and I wanted to wear them. —— on them. How has comedy


helped you? The comedy Festival has really raised the profile, and I am


an official artist in residence at the Dad's Army museum, so it's


brilliant. Much like Steve, it is much about raising their profiles,


and I went to meet one of them today.


Funny man Joe Lycett is back on home turf in Hall Green Birmingham, ahead


of his performance at the city's comedy festival on Thursday. So,


Joe, it began here? Yes, well, I went to scout group here, and I


tried to be a masculine boy, and they put me in a bin, so I realised


it wasn't possible and I wrote some stand—up about that. I think I've


always had, like, stupid voice, so everybody already thinks I'm a bit


of an idiot. For her epic challenge tonight, Jessica Green is going to


serve up ice creams using her hand and feet. He's been on the comedy


circuit for six years and has already made it on screen, in shows


like Epic Win? For their Epic Win tonight, our vertical tricksters


will be changing the wheels on their car whilst driving it. ..and Never


Mind The Buzzcocks. But for him, stand—up is his passion. In the last


few years, there's not been a lot of Birmingham comics coming out, so,


you know, I think we're a very funny group of people, and people should


be encouraged and given the option to do comedy here. And Joe is doing


exactly that. His current show has been compiled in this Birmingham


City centre cafe. I love the people here. I think they're so funny, and


they're just good Brummies, and it's a great place to work, is a good


place to be, and yeah, there's a lot of odd characters that come through


this place. There's loads of great characters here. Have you used them


in shows? I've used some of them, and some of them a bit frightened to


use them in case they kill me if I take the Mick out of them too much.


Joe is now touring with his first solo show, taking with him


inspiration from his home city and its people. Jill was following in


the footsteps of the like of Frank Skinner and Jasper carrot. The


festival has been running since 2001, and has become one of the


largest regional independent events of its kind. It has been another


sunny day today, hasn't it? Not for much longer? I'm not saying


we haven't got much sunshine, but still get some, and it leaves even


still be better than today. Some people started today on a cloudy


zero, but it is really the temperatures this week that are


going to give the game away and make us finally realise that autumn is


here. Not only are the days going to be colder, but the nights as well,


with a chance of frost and fog. This is the plunge of cold air that is


going to be filtering through to us by tomorrow, leading to the crash


and temperatures by Thursday. That's when the really well be a sharp


drop. For the time being, we are looking to the temperatures staying


in double—figure 's, with loads of around 10 Celsius, but for most of


the night, it will be dry, just towards the end of the night, we may


see some spots of rain here in there. That will herald the arrival


of small army of shower that Dominic —— a small army of showers that are


going to be in the region during the middle part of tomorrow. They will


be with us in the rest of the day, and they will move rapidly, because


the wind will be freshening up from the Northwest and because it is a


cold direction, temperatures model will drop from 45 cents US, only has


a 15 Celsius. Tomorrow, you will do we feel the cold bite. Temperatures


in towns and cities will drop to five or six Celsius, but in rural


areas, even lower than that. A touch of ground and even air frost, so


word of warning for farmers, gardeners, anyone with plants that


need protection. After that, high—pressure, and this is typical


these conditions, we have lighter winds and lower temperatures. You


will notice just a cost of showers to the east, which will affect us on


Friday, but Thursday will be dry and sunny, but as I see, cold.


Friday, but Thursday will be dry and sunny, but as Tonight's headlines


from the BBC: Bottom of the class — young people in the UK lack key


skills compared with the youth in other major economies.


And the banks start unveiling their


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