26/01/2014 Midlands Today


26/01/2014

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Good evening. It's been a day of clearing up after yesterday's huge

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storm which left a trail of destruction. Several families were

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forced to abandon their homes after what's described as a mini`tornado

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swept through a village in Warwickshire. Giles Latcham reports.

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Filmed by a villager in Galley Common near Nuneaton, debris

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everywhere, the immediate aftermath of freak weather some are describing

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as a mini tornado. I looked out of the window and I could see this

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tornado whipping round. Next thing we knew the whole lot was coming

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down. Three families were moved out

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overnight, their homes left uninhabitable. We had a load of

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rubble collapsing. My mum got scared, I heard her shouting, and a

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policeman knocked on the door saying part of the roof had come off. Look

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at the back of this VW here, the tiles still in place. Can you

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imagine what damage they would have done if they had hit a person? My

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father's quite shocked. He's lived in the village for as long as I can

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remember. We've never had anything like this happen. At a nearby riding

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school, they were rehoming their horses today, the storm ripping the

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roofs from a row of stables. There were horses running around

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everywhere, as everybody had to run to let them out. It was pretty

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frightening. This series of pictures shows the storm's progress across

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the region, the darkened skies illuminated by lightning,

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accompanied by hailstorms. The lightning struck at Ha'penny Green

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near Bridgnorth and travelled down the television aerial of a house in

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Stirchley in Birmingham, starting a blaze. One big bang and the next

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thing I knew it was right up to the ceiling, all the flames. It cracked

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all the window. A woman was treated for smoke inhalation after lightning

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set fire to homes in Stourbridge, but there are no reports of serious

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injury. Two international energy companies

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have told the BBC that they've ruled out fracking in the West Midlands.

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They say the geology of this region will prevent commercial drilling.

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Ben Godfrey reports. Dart Energy wants to start fracking in the UK.

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The multinational operates a third of the 33 licensed sites looking for

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oil and gas in the West Midlands. But their boss says they won't be

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fracking here. This is our less attractive area from a technical

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perspective. Our geologists have looked at the subsurface and we

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think it is unlikely to be a significant player in unconventional

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gas. Fracking involves drilling into shale and widening tiny cracks, some

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less than a million metre wide. Water, sand and chemicals are pumped

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in at high pressure to flush the gas to the surface. Another energy firm,

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Cuadrilla, which drew protests at its Lichfield headquarters last

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year, is also ruling it out here. The Prime Minister is offering

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councils incentives if they support fracking, such as keeping more money

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in tax revenue. We've got to look closely at what the Government's

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offering for that. That's balanced against the need for cheaper energy.

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There needs to be, if fracking did come about, real advantages to the

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community. There's certainly no political consensus. While

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Staffordshire hadn't ruled out fracking applications, over the

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border and Conservative`led Cheshire East council, which includes George

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Osborne's constituency, doesn't it want it here. One planning expert

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says there needs to be more public debate about fracking. We don't at

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the moment have a coherent energy policy, so fracking is being evolved

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within this gap in policy. It might appear as an opportunist cash and

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grab. While shale rock in the West Midlands isn't even as commercially

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viable for fracking, others have thought about drilling into coal

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seams to extract methane. The Government has been defending

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the salaries paid to HS2 bosses. The chief executive appointed to run the

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high`speed rail project is being paid ?750,000, and the new Chairman,

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Sir David Higgins, who visited the Midlands this month, has a salary of

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almost ?600,000. They're tasked with ensuring the ?43 billion scheme is

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completed on time and on budget. It is a large salary. It is huge!

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There is no question about it, but I'm pleased that engineers rather

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than bankers can be seen to get big rewards for delivering what will be

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very important pieces of national ininfrastructure.

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Football, and the region's interest in this year's FA Cup is over. Stoke

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City's 1`0 defeat at Chelsea means none of the Midlands clubs has made

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it through to the fifth round. Now, what's happening with the

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Midlands weather? Charlie Slater has the forecast.

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it through to the fifth round. Now, what's happening with the Good

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evening to you. We've had a bit of everything today. A lot of wet

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weather. Unfortunately there's more to come as we go through the night.

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What's more interesting, because it is cold, some showers could turn

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wintry. We are talking accumulations of snow mainly over higher ground,

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where you might get a dusting. But you could get snow at lower levels

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as well. Quite an icy start to Monday. As we go through the day,

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there is more wet weather to come. When you throw more wet weather into

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a cold air mass, you might get more sleet and snow.

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We're back just after 10.15pm. Until then, have a good evening. Goodbye.

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Until then, plenty more news on our website. Bye-bye.

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Good evening. will keep going through the nights

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tonight and as the air turns colder,

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tonight and as the air turns wintry. A mixture of sleet and snow

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leaving us with the risk advice The band of rain has cleared

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