26/01/2014 Midlands Today


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


storm which left a trail of destruction. Several families were


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


swept through a village in Warwickshire. Giles Latcham reports.


Filmed by a villager in Galley Common near Nuneaton, debris


everywhere, the immediate aftermath of freak weather some are describing


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


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


down. Three families were moved out


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the region, the darkened skies illuminated by lightning,


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


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


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


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


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


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


injury. Two international energy companies


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


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


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


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


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


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


perspective. Our geologists have looked at the subsurface and we


think it is unlikely to be a significant player in unconventional


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


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


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


Cuadrilla, which drew protests at its Lichfield headquarters last


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


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


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


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


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


community. There's certainly no political consensus. While


Staffordshire hadn't ruled out fracking applications, over the


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


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


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


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


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


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


viable for fracking, others have thought about drilling into coal


seams to extract methane. The Government has been defending


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


very important pieces of national ininfrastructure.


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


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


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


Midlands weather? Charlie Slater has the forecast.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Good evening. will keep going through the nights


tonight and as the air turns colder,


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


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


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