28/10/2013 Midlands Today


28/10/2013

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power cuts to thousands of homes. Now we can join the

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Turning waste

:00:00.:00:10.

into power ` a new ?16 million research centre converting rubbish

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to energy opens in Birmingham. It is a great opportunity to `` for the

:00:19.:00:26.

West Midlands. We'll be asking an energy expert

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whether this form of power could help to bring our bills down.

:00:30.:00:32.

Also tonight, tracking the cycle snatchers ` how organised gangs and

:00:33.:00:35.

opportunist thieves are fuelling a huge rise in bike thefts.

:00:36.:00:39.

From the Big Apple to the Bullring ` why Birmingham is ranked a top

:00:40.:00:41.

destination for American visitors. On the up ` after starting the

:00:42.:00:45.

season on minus ten, Coventry City have taken 13 points from five

:00:46.:00:54.

games. The challenges lie ahead. As long as I keep getting that level of

:00:55.:00:58.

commitment from the players, I have no complaints at all.

:00:59.:01:01.

And thankfully for us, the storms missed most of our region on this

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occasion. Is that it for this week or is there more to come? I'll have

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a full forecast for you later. Good evening. Radical new ways to

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turn rubbish into power are at the heart of a new research centre which

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opened today. Scientists at the ?16 million centre at Aston University

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say they can turn almost any waste into fuel to generate electricity.

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Every year we create 177 million tonnes of waste in England and

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around 60% of that goes into landfill. So, could this pioneering

:01:37.:01:43.

work eventually lead to savings on our energy bills? Our science

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correspondent David Gregory`Kumar has the story.

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We already burn some of our rubbish to produce energy. This is the

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Tysley incinerator in Birmingham. But at this new lab at Aston

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University, they're pushing things a stage further, burning waste and

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rubbish at very high temperatures and turning them into an oil. And

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the researchers say turning waste into this oil has big power

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generating potential. Birmingham has more than 1 million inhabitants and

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they are producing all of the material we require as residue from

:02:19.:02:25.

anaerobic digestive and foot waste from for example markets. And this

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new ?16 million lab is powered by the oil produced by this process.

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The big advantage is that if you have got a waste product you think

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you might be useful to generate energy, you can test it in the lab

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and then if it works out you can bring it here and tested on a

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full`size scale. But it works on a small scale too. In India, farmers

:02:53.:02:57.

burn straw to get rid of it. A team from the new lab have spent the past

:02:58.:03:01.

two months showing straw can be turned into fuel. Enough to power a

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village. And back home, all this provides opportunities for Midlands

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manufacturers. You look at the technology we have developed, there

:03:10.:03:12.

are lots of components within it and more everyday components, expansion

:03:13.:03:19.

bellows, compression joints. There is a great opportunity for

:03:20.:03:22.

manufacturers to come along and see if they can supply equipment for the

:03:23.:03:27.

bioenergy sector. Creating fuel from all sorts of waste is about to break

:03:28.:03:31.

out of the lab and start generating jobs and power.

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And David's here now. So, the big question ` would this actually

:03:35.:03:38.

result in lower energy bills? I think for you and me household

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energy bills, not just yet. The people watching me with interest

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might be for example a cider maker in Herefordshire. This would be

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another way for them to extract more energy from what is to them a waste

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product. Any big company with a lot of waste generated would be very

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interested in this idea. In your report, you mentioned that

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it could create jobs. How? It has helped to safeguard jobs. The

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defence contractor looking to diversify in this area were working

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with the team at the lab at the University. They have helped them

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come up with ways to build the new plants and it has safeguarded the

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future of the firm. If you have the ?16 million nucleus in the

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Midlands, the hope is that companies will grow around it.

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In the past, there have been plans to build waste incinerators in the

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Midlands which have been strongly opposed by people living near them.

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How would this bio`energy plant get around that kind of opposition? That

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is a fair point. The big incinerator at Birmingham, it is on the edge of

:04:50.:04:54.

town. This would be at the centre of Birmingham next to a very nice pub.

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They are confident the process does not generate the kind of problems

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you get with large`scale incinerators. Putting it right in

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the centre of campus is a vote of confidence in that idea. Interesting

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stuff. Thank you. Plenty more to come tonight,

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including claims a failure to go ahead with HS2 could lead to 14

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years of weekend line closures. Organised crime gangs and

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opportunist thieves are fuelling a huge rise in bike theft. In the

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Midlands, almost 18,000 bikes were reported stolen in the last year

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with an estimated value of ?8 million. BBC Inside Out has been

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investigating and put the thieves to the test tracking a stolen bike, as

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Peter Wilson reports. The politicians and health experts

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have been telling us to do it for years, to get on our bikes. But as

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more of us do, so more and more cyclists are losing out. I am fairly

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convinced somebody probably followed me home and saw where I kept my bike

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in the garage and then a few hours later broke into the garage and

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stole my bike. The BBC Inside Out team lock up their bike in

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Birmingham's City Centre. But this one has a GPS tracking device. Just

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eight hours later and a thief has struck and the bike is on the move.

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So, how many bikes are stolen? Across the Midlands, nearly 18,000

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last year. Bike crime is on the increase because more people are out

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on their bikes so there are more opportunities for thieves to take

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the bikes. The BBC bike is tracked to a Halfords store. The person

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riding it has been shopping. CCTV provides video of a teenager

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wheeling the bike. A security team track the bike to a block of flats

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and question the young man. That is you on the bike yesterday. That is

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where you have been on that bike. We have been watching you for the last

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four days. The National Bicycle Association is based in Coventry.

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So, what's their advice? Bikes come mainly from the Far East. They do

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not arrive here with any particular identification on them. What you

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need to do when you get a bite is to make quite certain that the shop you

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get it from Marx it for you `` a bicycle. The BBC bike is back in

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safe hands. Confronting thieves is best left to the police, yet just

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one in 20 bikes stolen are ever recovered.

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And you can see more on this on tonight's Inside Out, here on BBC

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One at 7.30pm. Hope you can join me for that and other stories from

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across the Midlands. A woman has been arrested on

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suspicion of murder after a man was found stabbed in Wolverhampton.

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Paramedics were called to a flat in the city's Market Square to treat a

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53`year`old man who'd been stabbed yesterday afternoon. But they were

:07:58.:08:00.

unable to save him and police arrested a 49`year`old woman in

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connection with the stabbing. A cyclist's been killed in a

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hit`and`run collision in Worcestershire early this morning.

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It happened outside the Duke of York pub in the village of Berrow. The

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cyclist was leaving the pub when he collided with a green Audi. A man in

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his 30s been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous

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driving. The Manufacturing Advisory Service

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has received more than ?2 million in European funding to help companies

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in the West Midlands. The money will be used to provide support to small

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companies wanting to enter new markets, develop products or to make

:08:33.:08:43.

changes which will create new jobs. It was the worst storm to hit the

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South of England for years, tragically killing four people.

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Early forecasts had suggested the driving winds and rain would hit the

:08:50.:08:55.

Midlands badly too. But in the end, thankfully, we escaped the worst of

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it. But there are a number of flood alerts across the region tonight.

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Our reporter Cath Mackie joins us now from the banks of the River

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Severn in Worcester. Cath, how's it looking?

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The river's looking pretty quiet tonight. There are however more than

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20 flood alerts on rivers across the West Midlands and there's a flood

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warning, which is one step up, on the River Stour in Warwickshire.

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That peaked earlier this afternoon. Hopefully, if we don't get another

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downpour just yet, that should settle. To be honest, it's a picture

:09:22.:09:32.

you'd expect this time of year. But what's really been noticeable for

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me, as someone who has covered countless severe weather stories for

:09:35.:09:38.

years, is the high level of preparedness now among the

:09:39.:09:41.

authorities to reduce the impact of whatever nature might throw at us.

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In the past, they'd often be playing catch`up. The thinking now is it's

:09:45.:09:50.

easier to scale down than up, so what we saw over the weekend, for

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example, were teams out clearing culverts to make sure that if the

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big storm did arrive, the water had somewhere to go. We are working more

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closely with the emergency services and local authorities. We are making

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people aware of the risk of flooding to their property. We are talking to

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communities and making sure that they are aware of what to do should

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a flood occur. There were problems for commuters

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this morning. What about this evening? Luckily, it's half`term for

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a lot of people, so there were far fewer cars on the road during rush

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hour this morning when surface water was making it difficult in places.

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The problem this evening as for much of the day is with train commuters.

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Train companies reporting delays and possible cancellations into tomorrow

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morning. The advice as always if travelling by train, check with the

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train operator first. Thank you. A new report says increasing the

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capacity of the main rail routes between London and the north as an

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alternative to HS2 would lead to 14 years of weekend closures. The study

:10:58.:11:00.

for Network Rail is due to be published tomorrow. But in a

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separate development, the Prime Minister has hinted he would cancel

:11:04.:11:07.

the scheme if the Labour Party withdraws its support. Our transport

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correspondent Peter Plisner reports. Remember this? Major disruption

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after engineering work on the West Coast Main Line over`ran back in

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January, 2007. This work was part of the last upgrading of the line which

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itself took more than a decade to plan and complete. The report made

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public today talks of a huge amount of disruption, including 14 years of

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weekend route closures and much longer journeys for passengers.

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Those opposed to the scheme, many of whom live near the proposed route,

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maintain that the report is seriously flawed and that upgrading

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the existing lines would bring bigger benefits to more passengers.

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And they could be about to get their way. Senior Labour Party figures

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like the former Business Secretary Lord Mandleson are now turning their

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back on the project. Frankly, there was too much of the argument that if

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everyone else has got a high`speed train, we should have won too.

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Regardless of need, regardless of cost. And that and other comments

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led to this statement from David Cameron yesterday. These

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multi`year, multi`parliament infrastructure projects, they cannot

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go ahead without all`party support. You will not get the investment.

:12:21.:12:25.

Could high`speed rail be about to hit the buffers? Probably not at

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this stage, but it's possible the plans may have to be moved to the

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sidings. And Peter joins us now from the

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proposed site of the Birmingham HS2 station. Peter, why is the support

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of the Labour Party so crucial to the survival of HS2? As David

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Cameron said, it is a cross`party issue. The support of all parties.

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It spans several years and several governments. We now the Labour Party

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is lukewarm on it. Ed Balls said a few weeks ago there could be no

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blank cheques for HS2. If the Labour Party withdraws support, David

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Cameron can scrap the scheme and then blame the Labour Party.

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A new business case for HS2 is being published tomorrow. Why is that

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necessary? The business case is vital to show the viability of the

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scheme. A previous business case has not done that. It has been shot to

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pieces by those opposed to the scheme. The numbers did not stuck

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up. Tomorrow we are told the business case will be much more

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robust. The government is now going on the offensive and wants to prove

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the case for HS2. It's also being discussed in

:13:48.:13:50.

parliament later this week. What's that all about? It is the third

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reading of the bill which effectively does what it says on the

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tin, paving the way for HS2. There will be more authority for more

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expenditure on HS2 and more planning. The publication of the

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business case tomorrow will help win more support. There will be a vote

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on the bill and HS2 is becoming an electoral liability. We will bring

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you more details on that later in the week.

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This is our top story tonight: Turning waste into power ` a new ?16

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million research centre converting rubbish to energy opens in

:14:28.:14:31.

Birmingham. Shefali will be along with your

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detailed weather forecast in a moment.

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Also ahead, making the numbers add up ` how taxpayers in Warwickshire

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are having their say on where the council should make cuts.

:14:40.:14:43.

And forget the Premier League, it's League One where are clubs are

:14:44.:14:45.

having a great run of form. A New York magazine has named

:14:46.:15:02.

Birmingham as one of its top winter destinations for 2013, praising it

:15:03.:15:04.

for its culture and choice of restaurants. Last year, nearly 52

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million tourists visited New York City, whereas 33.8 million made the

:15:08.:15:10.

trip to Birmingham. There are currently 67 Michelin`starred

:15:11.:15:18.

restaurants in New York. In Birmingham, there are four. The

:15:19.:15:21.

latest star was awarded last month. Top attractions in the Big Apple

:15:22.:15:24.

include the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. In

:15:25.:15:28.

Birmingham, the canals and Thinktank Science Museum often draw in the

:15:29.:15:32.

crowds. Joining me now to discuss the profile of the city is Emma Gray

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from Visit Birmingham and Anne Tonks, a New Yorker who now runs

:15:36.:15:39.

Opus restaurant in Birmingham. Good evening to both of you. Emma, it's

:15:40.:15:43.

your job to sell the city overseas, give us your 20`second sales pitch.

:15:44.:15:50.

We have seen an 11% increase in visitors. We have had a lot of

:15:51.:15:53.

people coming to Birmingham. They really enjoy the industrial heritage

:15:54.:15:59.

we have. From a North American point of view, they like that. They like

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the fact we are the home of Cadbury 's chocolate. The cultural diversity

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we have as a city helps the food scene. It is such a great city they

:16:10.:16:13.

find the English way of life very interesting. Do people understand

:16:14.:16:19.

what Birmingham is about? What is the most common perception of the

:16:20.:16:23.

city? People do not know of Birmingham. They think it is

:16:24.:16:32.

Birmingham, Alabama. People are surprised by the proximity to

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London. They like the fact you can use it as a base and tour the rest

:16:36.:16:39.

of the country. Ann, you've been here 15 years. What has it got that

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other cities do not have? I moved to Birmingham about 20 years ago and to

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me the extremely exciting thing about Birmingham is that it was a

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city that was changing. I have lived through so much change, cultural

:16:58.:17:02.

change, massive change in the restaurant industry. It has been a

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city where I have felt like anything could happen. We are still lagging

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behind New York in terms of Michelin`starred restaurants. We

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have a long way to go. We should be very proud that we have more

:17:18.:17:24.

Michelin`starred restaurants outside of London than any other city in

:17:25.:17:29.

Britain. But it is not just that. One of the great things we have in

:17:30.:17:33.

Birmingham is a great explosion of independent restaurants. Many of

:17:34.:17:40.

them boast home`grown talent. So many chefs in the city from

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Birmingham which is something we should be very proud of. Things are

:17:44.:17:49.

going well but what more does the city need to do? The physical

:17:50.:17:55.

development has put us in a good position to get more visitors. The

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next thing we need to focus on is our international connectivity. More

:18:02.:18:04.

flights into Birmingham, extending the networks we have. Thank you very

:18:05.:18:14.

much. All our councils are having to make

:18:15.:18:18.

budget cuts. If you held the purse strings, where would you make the

:18:19.:18:21.

savings? A free budget simulator's been put online to help taxpayers in

:18:22.:18:25.

Warwickshire have their say on where the council should be making cuts.

:18:26.:18:28.

The county has to save ?92 million over the next four years. BBC

:18:29.:18:30.

Coventry and Warwickshire's political reporter Sian Grzeszczyk

:18:31.:18:34.

has more. They are not experts and have not

:18:35.:18:38.

been elected to make the big decisions. They have spent more time

:18:39.:18:43.

campaigning against those who do. But now they have come together to

:18:44.:18:46.

see if they can make the numbers add up. I have been fighting to save my

:18:47.:18:56.

local library. I fought to try and preserve our village fire station. I

:18:57.:19:02.

am a 51`year`old single parent. I am fighting proposed cuts for disabled

:19:03.:19:11.

children. Disses Warwickshire county council's budget simulator. Every

:19:12.:19:15.

decision they make as a consequence `` disses. Far and rescue, it is

:19:16.:19:20.

life and death. These other cuts are cuts to services and it is not life

:19:21.:19:26.

and death `` Fire and rescue. You can set the budget for each

:19:27.:19:30.

department. If they get the sums wrong, they risked putting up

:19:31.:19:36.

council tax. Your budget does not balance. You need to adjust your

:19:37.:19:41.

choices so that the council tax does not have to increase by more than

:19:42.:19:46.

5%. We did not have enough more information about the consequences

:19:47.:19:51.

of the cuts. It is exceedingly difficult and you feel personally

:19:52.:19:56.

you are cutting people's benefits by doing this. We were not able to

:19:57.:20:01.

balance the books at all. We did not think we had enough information to

:20:02.:20:05.

enable us to make a call on some of the cuts. What does the council

:20:06.:20:10.

leader make of their concerns? I can understand that. It is very

:20:11.:20:14.

difficult. We have been going through this process for weeks, even

:20:15.:20:18.

months. If we are going to make the really am porting decisions, I need

:20:19.:20:24.

people to respond to me and tell me what they value. So far more than

:20:25.:20:28.

200 people have tried the budget calculator which will be available

:20:29.:20:32.

on the website until the end of the month.

:20:33.:20:38.

Let us turn our attention to sport now.

:20:39.:20:44.

Ian's here with tonight's sport. And not a lot to shout about in the

:20:45.:20:47.

Premier League. No, three defeats for West Brom,

:20:48.:20:51.

Aston Villa and Stoke. So we'll move swiftly on to the Championship where

:20:52.:20:54.

no`one made a more explosive impact than Lee Novak. The Birmingham City

:20:55.:20:57.

substitute had only just come on, midway through the second half, when

:20:58.:21:01.

he volleyed in from close range to earn the Blues a one`all draw at

:21:02.:21:04.

Derby. Guaranteeing a very happy 41st birthday for his manager Lee

:21:05.:21:10.

Clark. It is a terrific finish, to watch the ball coming out of the sky

:21:11.:21:16.

like that and delivered the quality technique. The players and the staff

:21:17.:21:19.

were delighted for him because he has a fantastic work ethic. I have

:21:20.:21:24.

worked with him for a long time. I think he can deliver for the club.

:21:25.:21:27.

Coventry City have been outstanding throughout October. 13 points from

:21:28.:21:33.

five games must give Stephen Pressley a great chance of being

:21:34.:21:37.

named Manager of the Month in League One. Wolves are also unbeaten since

:21:38.:21:39.

mid`September. And both teams won again at the weekend.

:21:40.:21:45.

Stephen Pressley is working a minor miracle at Coventry City. And his

:21:46.:21:49.

latest success came away to Walsall. Frank Moussa scored the only goal of

:21:50.:21:52.

a close`fought game. And Coventry would now be lying fourth, if only

:21:53.:21:56.

they hadn't been deducted ten points in the summer. It has been a really

:21:57.:22:04.

productive last eight or nine days for ourselves. Beating the league

:22:05.:22:09.

leaders on Tuesday and coming to the difficult away venue and winning

:22:10.:22:12.

again. The players deserve so much credit. Wolves arrived at Bradford

:22:13.:22:18.

in reflective mood. Having lost only two games all season, they weren't

:22:19.:22:21.

fazed when they fell behind early in the first half. A goalkeeping howler

:22:22.:22:25.

allowed James Henry to make it 1`1. And five minutes later, Richard

:22:26.:22:28.

Stearman popped up to score the winner, leaving Wolves three points

:22:29.:22:31.

behind the leaders Leyton Orient with a game in hand. A big game for

:22:32.:22:38.

them and they were cheering every throw in, every tackle. They drove

:22:39.:22:45.

the side through. To win under those circumstances is a fantastic result.

:22:46.:22:48.

Port Vale also found themselves a goal down at home to Gillingham. But

:22:49.:22:51.

Chris Robertson scored soon after the break. And Tom Pope's

:22:52.:22:54.

well`placed header sealed a 2`1 victory for Vale. We have got to

:22:55.:23:02.

give plenty of credit to Coventry. Starting the season on `10 points.

:23:03.:23:07.

It is a great effort. The one worry for the fans is that their players

:23:08.:23:12.

are catching the eye of scouts from higher up the football pyramid and

:23:13.:23:18.

January is not far away. We should also say well done to

:23:19.:23:23.

Burton Albion who are in the league two play or so after winning again.

:23:24.:23:31.

`` play`off zone. But our rugby clubs are really struggling to find

:23:32.:23:35.

their form. Yes, we told you on Friday about Worcester's woes at the

:23:36.:23:38.

bottom of the Premiership. I'm afraid they've now lost their last

:23:39.:23:41.

six games after their latest heavy defeat 40`6 away to Exeter. And the

:23:42.:23:45.

Warriors are now eight points adrift at the bottom. Gloucester are just

:23:46.:23:48.

above them. They lacked discipline, according to their Director of Rugby

:23:49.:23:51.

Nigel Davies, after they lost 15`13 away to Bath.

:23:52.:23:53.

Tomorrow evening, we're live at St Andrew's before Birmingham play

:23:54.:23:56.

Stoke in the Capital One Cup. Look forward to that.

:23:57.:23:59.

A two`year conservation project to monitor rare bats has been disrupted

:24:00.:24:02.

after thieves stole thousands of pounds of specialist equipment. The

:24:03.:24:05.

tracking devices were taken from woodlands in south Warwickshire,

:24:06.:24:08.

home to one of the most important breeding locations for Barbastelle

:24:09.:24:11.

bats in the country. Scientists are appealing for their return so they

:24:12.:24:20.

can continue to monitor the mammals. It is one of the only northern

:24:21.:24:24.

populations we have got which is breeding. We really want to know

:24:25.:24:29.

where the bats of foraging, feeding and roosting and how they are

:24:30.:24:33.

getting to those sites. That is what we need the transmitter and receiver

:24:34.:24:38.

for. It is a specialist piece of equipment which can only be used for

:24:39.:24:43.

tracking animals therefore it cannot be used for any other purpose than

:24:44.:24:47.

this. It is frustrating. It is basically valueless.

:24:48.:24:51.

Let's turn our attention to the weather. Shefali is here. We did not

:24:52.:24:58.

get away with escaping the weather entirely.

:24:59.:25:02.

As far as rain went, quite a bit in one or two spots. Earlier we heard

:25:03.:25:09.

from Worcestershire that there was a flood warning. There is a reason for

:25:10.:25:16.

that. It was the wettest plays in the region `` wettest place. Seeing

:25:17.:25:21.

as the stormy activity was running south and drifting in that

:25:22.:25:25.

direction, it was all is going to be the southern flank of our region

:25:26.:25:29.

that would be affected. But as far as this week goes, no more storms on

:25:30.:25:33.

the horizon. It will be quite blustery, autumnal feel to things.

:25:34.:25:39.

It will be cooler than last week. We will see a mixture of rain and

:25:40.:25:43.

showers. Judging by the isobars at the moment, still quite breezy.

:25:44.:25:48.

These will slacken later. A cluster of showers to the north`west feeding

:25:49.:25:53.

through the Cheshire gap later. The next system to come through will be

:25:54.:25:57.

this from the West. Coming later on Wednesday. A bit more detail on

:25:58.:26:03.

that. This evening and overnight, still showers there starting to

:26:04.:26:07.

develop. We are looking at clear skies. This will send temperatures

:26:08.:26:13.

down. Locally it could be a little cooler than seven or eight. A lot of

:26:14.:26:17.

the showers will concentrate themselves in the northern half of

:26:18.:26:20.

the region later in the night. Tomorrow is a daytime version of

:26:21.:26:24.

tonight. There will be a lot of showers across the northern half of

:26:25.:26:28.

the region. Further south, it is dry with sunshine. A lot of sunshine in

:26:29.:26:34.

between the showers. Some could be heavy. Temperatures on the poolside.

:26:35.:26:41.

Average for the time of year. `` on the cool side. A fairly brisk rest

:26:42.:26:49.

of the `` brisk westerly breeze. Tomorrow night, the showers will

:26:50.:26:53.

eventually die away. Clear skies across the board. In rural areas,

:26:54.:26:58.

temperatures could fall low enough for a touch of ground frost.

:26:59.:27:02.

Wednesday, dry with some sunshine and then showers on Thursday.

:27:03.:27:08.

Tonight's headlines: Four dead after hurricane`force winds batter

:27:09.:27:10.

southern Britain Turning waste into power ` a new ?16 million research

:27:11.:27:13.

centre converting rubbish to energy opens in Birmingham.

:27:14.:27:20.

That was Midlands Today. I will be back at 10pm.

:27:21.:27:50.

This is Malcolm, who owns Iceland. He's the one

:27:51.:27:52.

that's going to present us with the ten grand. When we win it.

:27:53.:27:55.

You've just got to make it as bearable

:27:56.:27:58.

Here we are in the PR nerve centre of Iceland

:27:59.:28:02.

at the end of 96 hours of total hell.

:28:03.:28:05.

But we haven't tested for dog or cat either.

:28:06.:28:10.

Is this the warmest supermarket around?

:28:11.:28:13.

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