03/02/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight...


125 years of history comes to the end of the road. Dunlop Motorsport's


Birmingham factory to close, with the loss of more than 240 jobs.


Absolutely dismayed. Goodyear Dunlop are treating the city and country


with contempt. Local MP Jack Dromey tells us it's a


disgrace and the company has gone back on its word.


Also tonight... More rain on the way ` are we


sacrificing farmers to save our towns and cities from flooding? This


is their business. They work to maintain it and they have one


chance, generally, to get a crop off the land.


Wolverhampton says a final goodbye to Steve Evans, who inspired


thousands with his battle with stomach cancer.


A first league win over Manchester United in 30 years means a happy


Monday in the Potteries. Couldn't believe it. Thoroughly deserved it.


Amazing. Both my sons are over the moon.


And yesterday, this was the first sign of any real sunshine we've had


for days, but by the looks of things, I doubt it'll last. As


though we need reminding ` there's more rain on the way. Full details


for you later. Good evening. 125 years of tyre


production by Dunlop in Birmingham is coming to an end, with the


closure of the company's motorsports plant. It had been hoped a deal


could have been struck to save the factory and more than 240 jobs.


Workers believed they were safe until September at least, but today


the US`owned tyre maker said it was pulling out of the City. Here's Bob


Hockenhull. A famous manufacturing name leaves


the West Midlands after a proud history in the region. And it's a


case of what a difference five years makes. This was what Dunlop


Motorsport had to say about its factory in Erdington in 2009. The


factory is full to capacity. With new business and new championships


around the world, and new teams in car and motorcycle racing, it is a


good news story for the automotive industry. That demand for good


quality motor sport tyres continues, but Dunlop is ending its long


association with Birmingham. Its American owners, Goodyear Tire and


Rubber Company, will switch the work to existing sites in France and


Germany. The company's Birmingham factory had been leased from a


commercial property company. That lease ends in September. And the 11


acre site has already been sold to Jaguar Land Rover, who want to


expand their neighbouring factory. The unions say workers have been let


down. They've accused the company of not being genuine in the search for


an alternative site. It was not a case of what was wrong with the


existing site, it was a case of we have two factories within the group


that have capacity and capability to make motorsport hires and in the


timescale we had, we were not able to build a new factory. Despite


personal intervention by Business Secretary Vince Cable, it seems


Dunlop is adamant it will leave Birmingham.


Earlier this afternoon I spoke to Jack Dromey, the MP for Birmingham


Erdington. He gave me his reaction to the news of the closure.


It is outrageous. Goodyear Dunlop is treating our city and our country


with contempt. For days ago, they agreed they would examine all


options for the future to remain in Birmingham. Four days later, they


have torn up the pledge they made. It is absolutely wrong that a


decision made 3600 miles away in a high old `` in Ojai office


threatening Birmingham workers with redundancy. A lot say they have


worked closely with local authorities and agencies to identify


a local site but unfortunately, no other site was available. Is that


your understanding? Not true. Six months ago, an alternative site was


identified three miles away. Dunlop said at the time it is a good side.


They have been offered financial assistance to relocate to that


site. They said that they would seriously examined dooming it ``


doing it for days ago. Now they want to work away from Birmingham. Is it


a done deal, is there any chance the jobs could be kept in Birmingham? We


will not allow Goodyear Dunlop to terror up the pledge `` to terror up


the pledge they made four days ago. It would be trade the pledge they


made but also the commitment they made two generations of Birmingham


workers who have built the success of the motor sport business. They


deserve better now. What can be done? It sounds as though the


company has made its mind up and the jobs will be transferred to Europe,


which suggests they feel the jobs would be more effectively carried


out in Europe? The company has a history of closing factories here in


Britain and moving production to continent. We intend to step


pressure up on Dunlop over the coming weeks and months. We're not


going to allow them to walk away from the city. They owe Birmingham a


commitment, because it was Birmingham workers that built the


success of the business. Well our business correspondent


Peter Plisner is outside the Dunlop factory now. Peter what's been the


reaction there today? There is anger here as well. Unions and workers are


devastated. The unions have accused Dunlop of walking away from its


obligations. They have accused the company of not being honest. They


have referred to the meeting last night between Vince Cable `` last


week between Vince Cable and the company. They say that they gave a


commitment to look more seriously at sites in Birmingham and four days


later, they decided to announce the closure. They seem to have capacity


elsewhere in the network, in France and Germany. The factory site will


be redeveloped pretty quickly, within? That is certainly the


understanding. I spoke to Jaguar Land Rover. They said there are


plans for the site are under development and that there are a


number of options being considered. They are expanding in all directions


from the Castle Bromwich factory. They have taken over the side of the


cinema, a cat had `` and a car park is being developed. New models are


coming out all the times of the capacity is needed. What are the


prospects for the Dunlop workers who will lose their jobs? It seems


unlikely that many will transfer to Germany or France. Some may be


redeployed within the Dunlop factories in the UK. There will be a


three`month consultation period, which point some options may be


available. I think the majority face a redundancy, it has to be said.


Coming up later in the programme... The legal drug guaranteed to burn


fat, but it raises the body temperature so much it can have


fatal consequences. There are 23 flood warnings and two


severe flood warnings across the region tonight. And today there was


a stark warning that we could be forced to choose between protecting


the countryside or protecting towns. Farmers say that could cost them


dear. Our reporter Cath Mackie is in Worcester for us tonight. Cath, how


concerned are farmers you've talked to today?


I spoke to one earlier whose land has been underwater since before


Christmas, so he is very concerned. There is a pilot scheme in


Shropshire between farmers and the Environment Agency, looking at the


best way of maintaining waterways across farmland. It is hoped it will


offer a national solution. Steven Watkins drives through


floodwater at his farm at Severn Stoke in Worcestershire. A quarter


of his land, 400 acres, is underwater. The boat on the horizon


is sitting on top of the swollen River Severn. The farmland is


protected by a man`made flood defence. It was put in in the 1960s


to protect the villages along this stretch of the river. At that time,


the river was dredged frequently to allow the tankers to get up. 20


years ago, we had no more maintenance and no more dredging of


the river and we are seeing the effects. We spend a reasonable


amount every year on dredging but a lot of this is the responsibility of


the owners of the rivers themselves. We have tried to make it easier for


them to carry out the work themselves. This is a field of


Swedes that were destined for the supermarket, but it is not going


anywhere. It's completely waterlogged. Now, it's not the first


time this field has been flooded, it is after all by the river, but what


the problem is now is it's happening more often and the water is hanging


around far longer than it used to. As it is in Somerset, where people


trapped by floodwater are being helped by amphibious vehicles sent


by a Staffordshire firm. But back at Sheepcote Farm, a gauge alerts the


locals to any threat of flooding. So, the Red Line is danger?


Absolutely. So what's the answer? The head of the Environment Agency


says a stark choice may be needed between protecting the town or the


country, prompting calls for more co`operation. Members do not want to


see householders flooded. They do not want to see their farmland


flooded. This is their business, they work to maintain it. They have


one chance to get a crop off the land. It is about working together.


In the meantime, it's an anxious wait. At Minsterworth in


Gloucestershire, the flood banks have been breached three times in


three days. But there's some respite ` in Ironbridge, the flood barriers


have been taken down. Tonight along the River Severn, in Shrewsbury the


barriers are in place. In Bewdley, they are staying put. The


Environment Agency say they will review it in the mooring. The flood


barriers at Ironbridge maybe up before the end of the week.


We will have the full forecast later.


Road tunnels will shut again this summer in Birmingham, it has been


confirmed. The A38 tunnels will be shut from 10pm on Friday the 18th


July until 6am on Monday the first September. The city council says


it's to allow the second phase of essential repairs to take place.


A Staffordshire MP has described a newspaper article about him as


despicable journalism. Aidan Burley, seen here at a Nazi`themed stag


party, was last month found by his party to be stupid, but not


anti`semitic," for his role in the evening. The Cannock Chase MP made


the comments after a Mail on Sunday article suggested he hadn't faced


fair scrutiny from the Conservative Party.


The online retailer Amazon says 330 workers at its Rugeley distribution


centre have been switched from temporary to permanent contracts


since October. The company has created almost 1,000 permanent jobs


across the country in the last three months.


Visiting restrictions are in place at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital


and Alexandra Hospital in Redditch following an outbreak of norovirus


over the weekend. Anyone who's had sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48


hours is being asked not to visit patients.


The family of a student who died after taking a fat`burning drug want


tougher action from the government. DNP raises the body temperature so


much it can be fatal. Telford's former world champion boxer Richie


Woodhall knows a lot about keeping his weight down and keeping fit. For


tonight's Inside Out, he's been looking at the use of DNP by


slimmers, but also by body`builders in the Midlands.


Chris took DNP, Sarah was losing weight. Now their families are


living life without them. Luke is a Midlands teenager and fitness


fanatic. He has been using DNP behind his parents' back. After the


first few days my temperature really went up. I started sweating


constantly. Your breathing is rapid. You can't sleep because you


are constantly sweating. The Food Standards Agency has already been


talking tough. It can't prosecute anyone selling DNP to burn fat. We


still managed to get hold of DNP. Is the law working? We have closed or


altered 40 websites around the world to stop this industrial chemical


coming in and being used by people. Jeff and Jean Houston said that is


not enough. Their daughter died after taking DNP and likely's


parents, they did not know she was taking it. We found out after she


died. The police found the pills in her room. It was only about three


months later that we found out they were DNP capsules. We realised that


there was nothing they could do to help in hospital. Once you taking it


`` once you have taken it, it is irreversible, there is nowhere to


go. It is horrendous. It is what killed our daughter. We loved her


very much. They want the Home Secretary to listen. It raises the


metabolic rate and is incredibly dangerous and therefore, should be a


controlled substance. While changes to the law will take time, the


meeting with Luke has made a difference. I will stay away with


it. It seems Luke has learned his lesson. They users have not been so


lucky. `` other users. Also on tonight's Inside Out


programme, I'm asked to down a large glass of wine and then get behind


the wheel. With nearly half of drivers admitting to being


distracted by their phone, we tested whether I was safer driving after a


drink, or with a phone in my hand. It was a simulator, not a car on the


road. You can find out how I got on tonight at 7.30 here on BBC One `


the results might surprise you. Our top story tonight...


125 years of history comes to the end of the road. Dunlop Motorsport's


Birmingham factory is to close, with the loss of more than 240 jobs.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly with Shefali. Also in


tonight's programme... The future of professional


basketball in Birmingham is on a knife edge, the Knights desperate to


end a run of 19 defeats. And Wolverhampton says its final


goodbye to Steve Evans, who shared his fight with cancer with thousands


online. We always knew he was who he was, how he acted and how he


played, that was him. If you have a story you think we


should be covering on Midlands Today, we'd like to hear from you.


We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Let's turn to sport. Stoke City fans


still basking in the afterglow of victory ` not just any old win.


Good things come to those who wait. For 29 years, Stoke City have waited


patiently for this moment. The moment they finally won a League


game against Manchester United. Two goals from Charlie Adam clinched


their famous victory. So it was no surprise to learn the Potteries were


still buzzing with excitement today, as Ian Winter reports For the past


seven years, Ann Johnson has been selling the Sentinel in the centre


of Stoke. Red hair, red scarf, red Herring! How happy does the score


make you feel? not very happy. You never are! I am a man United fan.


She supports Man United. Charlie Adam scored two goals. His first


might have been deflected but his second was the perfect stride. It


left Stoke celebrating a league win over United for the first time since


Boxing Day, 1984, when Mark was 21 and a striker with the red Devils.


There comes a point when we expect Charlie to score goals like that. I


see it in training every day. He has got a clean strike. I am pleased


that Stoke one. I like to see the little guy come out on top. What did


you make a? Amazing. My husband and my sons are over the moon. Really


thrilled. Villa were taking the lead at


Garrison Park, but the first`half goal was not good enough. Edison


Park. As for West Brom, they seized on a howler to win a draw against


Liverpool. Back in Hanley, Sir Stanley smiled.


29 years they have waited. He would have been the proudest man in the


Potteries on Saturday afternoon. Away from the Premier League, there


was a fans' protest at Birmingham City against the current owner.


The fans have lost patience with the current regime and the lack of money


at the club. The Blues Trust held a banner at Saturday's game which


read, "Delay no more." Their ultimate aim is for the current


owners to sell the club. And it's a big month for the club with an EGM


on Wednesday and the verdict in Yeung's trial on the 28th. On the


pitch, they were losing 3`1 to Derby but it finished 3`3 on Saturday.


The former Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles is a leading


contender to take over as head coach of the England Test team. Giles is


already in charge of the one day and Twenty20 sides. He says he would be


"very interested" in replacing Andy Flower who resigned from the test


side after the Ashes. And today the chairman of the ECB confirmed Giles


was a "strong candidate" for the role.


Basketball, and the director of the Birmingham Knights says they'll fold


unless attendances rise. The club was formed last summer and is half


way through a first season in the top flight. But it's proving


tough... 19 defeats and no victories. So could they turn that


around against bottom club Surrey? I went along on Saturday night to find


out. These are nervous times for the


Birmingham Knights. They've yet to win a game this season. And the


finances are creaking. The message to basketball fans is clear. Back


them, or lose them. We really do need the city and local businesses


and new fans to start coming along and supporting us, or we won't be


here next season. We should be devastated for Birmingham. We've got


professional basketball back. The venue has been the biggest problem.


The Knights are based at North Solihull Sports Centre. It's in


Chelmsley Wood, and being away from the city centre makes it hard to


attract crowds. But those who do go are passionate ` especially when


they've got two sons in the side. They are competing, and that is all


we want. The fact that in the second quarter there was a good points


tally, that is nice in any sport. I am a huge fan of Birmingham Bullets


and I was disappointed when they disappeared so I was pleased when


basketball came back. Saturday's game against Surrey gave the Knights


a great chance of their first win of the season. But the Knights lost


again 89`80. Their coach is still optimistic about the future. The


results have not gone the way we wanted it to but when you have been


looking at the schools and universities, that is all positive.


Birmingham would love to follow the example of the league leaders,


Worcester Wolves. Worcester play at their University's new arena, and


Birmingham have an agreement with their university to move into a new


arena in 2016. But that's still two years away. And if the Knights can't


improve their finances, they won't last that long.


Zac purchase from Tewkesbury, the rower, has announced his retirement


today. He won medals in ageing and London. `` in Beijing.


Steve Evans shared his fight with terminal stomach cancer on radio, TV


and online, always showing "courage, humour and grace". In one of his


final tweets, Steve thanked all his followers saying, "You have helped


us get through some very dark and tricky times". His story touched the


lives of people from all walks of life and all over the world. The


Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent described Steve as "funny


and dignified to the end". Mike Pearson tweeted from America that


Steve's journey was "truly the bravest thing I've ever heard,"


while on Facebook, Louise Ransberry, who attended today's service, said


"what a fabulous send off ` funny, emotional, entertaining." Tributes


at today's service in Wolverhampton were led by the comedian and family


friend, Frank Skinner, as Ben Godfrey reports.


At half past twelve, parts of Wolverhampton city centre fell


silent. 500 mourners gathered to celebrate the life of a man of many


talents. I have followed him through his journey, through sad times. He


was a good guy. I am showing my respect to day. He was


inspirational. Steve Evans touched people with his honesty and humour.


Here was a man revealing the hard truth about life with terminal


stomach cancer. The 52`year`old council building surveyor, part`time


comedian and magician, leaves behind his wife Septina, and their


daughters Meg and Lauren. The only thing we can do, and it does not


have to be a specific thing, is continued living the way he taught


us. If we do that, then his legacy lives on. Steve spent a decade


managing the acts at the Civic Hall. This was the first funeral service


in the venue's history. One of those paying tribute was the comedian,


Frank Skinner, a family friend. He said Steve was an amazing guy, a man


of great intelligence and cleverer than he looked. He added, he was


Wolverhampton through and through, but I forgive him that. Also among


the mourners were former colleagues at Wolverhampton City Council, some


of his 26,000 Twitter followers and those who'd helped Steve to tell his


unique story. There is a familiar play called Death Of A Salesman, and


the lead character judges people by how many turn up to his funeral. If


that is a good assessment of a man's life, this was an incredible


life. Steve asked for donations to be made to Compton Hospice because


of the support given to him at home by its nurses. ?15,000 has been


raised so far. Such a sizeable sum will go a long way to help provide


care in the future for families affected. The furthest away donation


was Zimbabwe. It shows love. Steve Evans called his fight against


cancer "a journey shared by loved ones". Today, it was apparent there


were many more of them than perhaps he realised.


Truly inspirational. Earlier we saw the continuing flooding problem, is


there any respite from the rain on the horizon Shefali?


There is some respite. Any respite is going to be welcome at this


stage, especially to those in flooded areas. We have got drier


days this week. They are interspersed with wetter periods.


For the first half of the week, the wettest and windiest period will be


on Wednesday. That is quite a wild day and there are warnings in force


at the moment for gusts of up to 50 mph. That will cause travel


disruption. There will be rain to come with that and it could amount


to 20 or 30 millimetres, about an inch of rain, on top of what we have


already got. Just to point out that we have numerous flood warnings in


force across the region. We have two severe flood warnings for


Gloucestershire. It is a changing picture so if you want to keep up to


date, the best thing to do is contact this phone number. This is


what is affecting us in the immediate future. There is a cold


front heading in from the west. It does not have the additional baggage


of low pressure, so it will not be as bad as this deep area of low


pressure heading our way on Wednesday. There is a lot of rain


along it. It is a narrowband heading in this evening from the West,


producing rain in some places. It heads off to the east, followed by


showers. We have got dry conditions to end the night and under those


clearer skies, temperatures near freezing in more reward areas and


over higher land. We could see a touch of ice and frost as well. For


towns and cities, temperatures above freezing. Tomorrow is also a day of


respite. Dry weather and showers, and sunshine as well. Temperatures


to about eight Celsius. The rain is going to arrive tomorrow night and


it will be heavy. Tonight's headlines from the BBC...


State schools as good as private ones ` that's the ambition, says the


Education Secretary. 125 years of history comes to the


end of the road ` Dunlop Motorsport's Birmingham factory to


close, with the loss of 240 jobs. Moore at ten o'clock. Goodbye.


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