14/02/2014 Midlands Today


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to British coastlines, with winds of up to 80 mph. That's all


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight. Cut off since


Christmas ` the villagers in Gloucestershire who've been marooned


by the flood waters. We have just been sort of forgotten. We are not


in the village, we are not in the city, mostly we are forgotten about.


We'll be live in Tirley in Gloucestershire for the latest,


after another day of heavy rain and strong winds. Assessing the damage,


homeowners in Worcester wade through the waters to monitor the impact.


Very messy. Is not look good at all. I am travelling into a community


largely cut off by flood water and now Gailes mean they have been


without power for two days. The rain is still falling and the river


levels are rising. But all signs point to things getting a little


better next week. I'll have all the details later. Also tonight, as the


Prime Minister visits Jaguar Land Rover's new engine plant.


Local manufacturing firms claim they've lost out to overseas


suppliers. And the farmers using social media to boost business and


to share some fun photos. Good evening. People living in a


village in Gloucestershire say they've been cut off by flood water


for nearly two months. Roads around Sandhurst were flooded at Christmas


and the water has only risen since then.


It is not just river water flooding these homes, it is sewage. Matt


Beesley lives here. Why did I leave? Human faeces floating around in the


kitchen. No, thanks. We have had to make all the telephone calls. It is


too late. These sandbags cover a manhole cover in Matt's garden and


it was the manhole cover that exploded sending human sewage all


over the place. We've taken the sensible decision probably not to


walk any further into Matt's garden and I have to say the smell, as you


can guess, is shocking. Severn Trent have told us they've sent extra


pumps to Diglis Avenue but the water levels have got so high, they say,


there's nothing more they can do until they recede. Horror stories


like this are rare, and whilst some homes and businesses have flooded,


it's not widespread. Police patrols are going door to door in vulnerable


areas ` to offer reassurance. I can absolutely assure people we have had


no crime as a result of the flooding. We have lots of resources


out on the ground. People can be confident. All of the resources


including the Army, there is nothing for people to worry about. At Bishop


Hampton in Herefordshire supplies are being delivered in four by fours


because the roads are flooded by standing water. The army has been in


both Herefordshire and Worcestershire helping the emergency


services. We're here for a minimum of five days. However, we know that


we could be here for up to four weeks. If it takes four weeks, then


that is what we are prepared to provide. The rain continues to fall


and the Environment Agency's expecting the River Severn level to


rise again this weekend. And the extent of the flooding remains


breathtaking. One Midlands Today viewer filmed this footage of


Worcester from a train ` the river bank and roads are indistinguishable


in places. But there was some relief today, a nice touch when a Sikh


charity turned up to feed emergency workers and local authority staff.


Right now, the country is unaided of a crisis so we have been down to


Somerset over the weekend `` in a bit of a crisis. It is time to show


our support. All Matt can do is wait for the water levels to drop. How


was it looking? Very messy. It does not look good at all. Hundreds of


homes in north Shropshire have been without power for two days since


gales battered the region. And for a village largely cut off by


flood water, the lack of electricity is adding to their feelings of


isolation. Joanne Writtle reports. Past flooded fields and down a lane


which is now a river, there are people who feel forgotten. I am


heading into the remote community of Royal Hill, by pretty much the only


means possible. The farmer has been helping people get in and out for


weeks. This is a natural flood plain. In there somewhere is the


River Severn and people are used to all this water. What is bothering


them is that the Gailes on Wednesday mean they have been without power


for two days. Everything is a hassle. The heating in the house, it


is a hassle setting it up, we have an emergency generator. Minutes


before we arrived, good news, power was restored. But two days without a


fridge, it means there is a lot of waste. It has been quite horrific.


It is a little warmer now but it has been like living in a fridge. The


weather has been horrific. It impeded our movements, getting


around the house. It has been quite bad really. At the pub, a warm


welcome. Until just now, they have coped with a generator. We are a


country pub and we like to make sure we are open whatever the weather, so


that people who have not got food or warmth or power can come in here.


Power may be back here but hundreds of houses in Shropshire are still


cut off. The difficulty we get is when the wind starts to get up, it


becomes unsafe for the crews to work and that is my concern for today. If


we get winds of that magnitude, we will be delayed in storing supplies.


In this Hamlet, they may be swamped but at least they have now got


power. And relaxing by a cosy fire is maybe the best way to switch from


all this water. The Prime Minister's been visiting


Jaguar Land Rover's new ?500 million engine plant near Wolverhampton


today. When it opens in the autumn, it's expected that an engine will


come off the production line every 36 seconds. However, some Midlands


manufacturers have expressed disappointment that more parts


aren't being made locally. It's emerged today that 50% of components


going into the new engines will be made abroad. Our Business


Correspondent, Peter Plisner, reports.


A big investment in a big engine plant in fact it's the size of 14


football pitches. With much of the hi`tech equipment still being


installed, today the Prime Minister, a big fan of Jaguar Land Rover, came


to see the plant for himself. This epitomises everything we need


to see in the British economy. We need to make more things and here we


are, a pneumatic factoring plan. We need more investment and jobs around


the country. It's also a boost for people like


Steve Bird, whose one of the first employees to take up a post here. It


is a great experience. All of the new machines coming in. There is


little doubt that this plant is good for the region 's economy and job


creation in the Midlands but there is some concern that around 50% of


the parts are being made abroad. Although this Willenhall based Forge


didn't bid for work from the engine plant, management are still


concerned that more isn't being made locally. It is disappointing. We do


have the capacity locally. But it is not surprising because it is going


to low`cost countries where the energy prices are considerably lower


and the labour costs are also lower. But according to JLR management


today sourcing parts is complex issue. We have a competitive


sourcing strategy, like any other global company. We have tried doing


very Jasmine Birtles possible in the UK to participate in the bidding


process. `` as many companies as possible.


One of those decisions has brought more jobs to this Birmingham


engineering. It's making a variety of parts for the new engines and


it's one of the biggest contracts they ever won. It means job


stability, job creation, it is a learning that we can take elsewhere


to other vehicle manufacturers. The new plant which has cost ?500


million to set up will produce it's first engine in the autumn. And


Peter's here now. So exactly how much of what's going into these new


engines will actually be made in the Midlands?


As you said, 50% being made abroad but 50% being made in the UK. Of


that 50%, 20% being made in the West Midlands. But is lower than most


people expected but let's not forget, there are some substantial


contracts that have been one. The company in the film has an eight to


ten year contract. That is securing jobs and creating new jobs. What can


be done to make it easier for firms here to win work in the future? One


of the problems is the energy costs. The companies pay a lot for


electricity, that is continuing to rise. In Germany, energy costs are


often fix for businesses. They say it is not a level playing field.


Labour is also cheaper abroad. It is difficult to get money to invest


here. And to fulfil the kind of orders they are coming out with,


they need to invest but companies are finding that very difficult.


Even without those jobs in the supply chain, this is a big


investment in the Midlands. It is indeed. ?500 million, one of the


biggest construction projects anywhere in the country and it is a


local construction firm that has won a lot of the work. There are 1400


people working in this plant and a lot of those are apprentices, it has


been a really big project with some big numbers. Serial killer Joanna


Dennehy has told a court she's sorry for the attempted murders of two men


in Hereford, but not for the murders of three others in Cambridgeshire.


31`year`old Dennehy, from Peterborough, pleaded guilty to the


offences at an earlier hearing and appeared before Cambridge Crown


Court today for sentencing. She made her remarks after the case was


adjourned and she was being led from the dock.


One of Coventry's oldest firms has been saved from going out of


business. Cash's UK, which has made name tags for school uniforms for


more than 160 years, went into administration last month. It's been


sold as a going concern, production is expected to restart immediately.


And a senior Labour MP has attacked the war of words between the main


parties over flood protection. Labour identified 24 Midlands


Conservatives who voted against a Labour motion three years ago, which


condemned cuts to flood protection budgets. The Government say the


defences are holding`up well in most Midlands towns and cities. But a


former business minister said the debate was not what people directly


involved wanted to hear. I do not think that people who are currently


battling flooding welcome party political battling on this. This has


been truly terrible for people, it is ultimately mostly down to the


weather and the terrible storms and rain that we have had and I want to


pay tribute to every environment agency member of staff, army


officer, police and fire officers, volunteers, they have been doing


their best to help in what has been a really difficult situation for the


country in recent ones. `` months. And there'll be more on


this on this weekend's Sunday Politics, when Patrick Burns will


also be joined in the studio by Alison Munro, the Chief Executive of


HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for delivering high`speed rail. That's


from 11pm here on BBC One. ``11am. Today, the Fire and rescue


service were bringing vital resources to people by boat. We have


been finding out how they have been coping.


Cut off since Christmas. The residents of Sandhurst in


Gloucestershire have not been able to leave their homes for weeks. How


long have you been stranded? One day merges into the next. None of us can


remember. In some places, the water is six foot deep.


We were trying to pump water out last night, we were in shifts,


waking each other up. Trade keep the water out through the night. This


afternoon, human contact that lass. Specialist water genes bringing ``


specialist water teams bringing much`needed supplies. Upstream in


Jukes Brie, a lot of water but far fewer problems. Although not all


houses escape. This is a perfect example of the problems they face.


Behind me, believe it or not, are actually two rivers. Close by is the


River Avon. Right in the distance, that is where the River Severn runs.


Of course when they fled, they become one huge river and that


affects the town. For hotels and restaurants, relief as the town


stayed open on one of their busiest days of the year. We have had some


cancellations but we are getting a lot of local residents coming to


join us for a nice romantic meal. We are open. As normal. To which water


is even causing problem at this marina. Some of the boats have sunk.


It has been flooded for so long and the owners have not been able to get


to it to bale it out. Back in Sandhurst, more vital supplies but


with the water not expected to go any time soon, the villagers will


have to wait for some time yet. Ben Sidwell is in the village of


Tirley, just south of Shrewsbury. It is clearly very windy. What are


conditions like? It is incredibly windy. Huge gusts of wind coming.


You may be able to see behind, that is part of the River Severn. There


are actually waves on that. And that is dividing this village in half.


That is the big problem. Just like Sandhurst, here in Tirley, they have


had this problem pretty much since Christmas. I cannot speak to the


chairman of the parish council. Do you feel like you are cut off and


people are forgetting about you? I think it is because we are tiny and


there are far more problems in the big towns. But we have people living


down at the river who have been in their homes since Christmas, have


not been able to get out. It is difficult to get food to them. Is it


a community thing? The community has to pull together. We have formed an


emergency action group a couple of years ago because we were concerned


about the flooding. And we appointed a chairman. And he has done a


wonderful job. Let's speak to the flood warden in Tirley. We can see


how awful it is. About three foot of water behind us on the main road.


How bad is it in the village? It is really bad. It goes from here about


three quarters of a mile, over to where we have 18 houses...


Apologies, the wind is causing problems with the connection to the


village of Tirley. I think we can actually return to our reporter.


Carry on if you can. Absolutely. A number of properties


are flooded. Absolutely, yes. That is right. What can you do? We are


doing everything that we can. We have identified who is staying in


their houses. If we need to get people out, we are keeping


information on the website. We have a team of volunteers that are kind


of working to put sandbags out, organise food and just keep a link


to the people that deserted down at the river. If you look behind us,


these guys are doing absolutely everything they can. But


potentially, this water could be here for a month or so yet.


You can see all of our reports on the flooding situation on our


Facebook page. And for the latest weather, travel


and news updates on the flooding, tune into your local BBC radio


station. Selfie ` it was the word of 2013,


taking your own picture and posting it on social media. Now there's a


new version ` the felfie. But behind the fun, there's a more serious side


to the social media craze as our Rural Affairs correspondent, David


Gregory Kumar, has been finding out. Celebrities love a selfie, taking a


picture of themselves and putting it online. Here's mine... And if you


want to find it you can search for it using the hashtag felfie. You'll


find plenty from our farmers. But felfie isn't the only farming


hashtag out there. I have heard that you are working of the hash tag team


dairy. According to some people, yes. It is what we are all about. As


regards Twitter and farming, it is instant, you can do it wherever you


are. Whether you are in need looking parlour, in the tractor, you can get


it out there as quickly as possible. Businesses large and small have


followed the farmers onto twitter. By using twitter, I have got into


conversations with people that are interested in what we do. How much


business have you picked up? We joined in April last year and I


would estimate between ten and ?15,000 worth. And both Chris and


Jim have been involved with the huge task of helping flooded Somerset


farmers. And social media was at the heart of relief effort. One farmer


said to me that in the old days, you waited for farmers weekly to drop


onto your doormat and that is when you found out what was happening.


But now it is all immediate. They say that is a good thing. But of


course, Twitter is not for everyone. What would you say to farmers who


think this is just a stupid waste of time? Fair enough. Don't use it.


Each to their own. Some people love it. I know I do. This gives you a


chance to talk to so many people so quickly, a photo with a bit of an


excavation can put so many would accrue `` so much information out


there very quickly. And sometimes of course that photo can be very silly


indeed. A centre in Birmingham will begin


serving breakfast to the homeless again, after an overwhelming


response to an appeal by Worcester Warriors rugby club. Rising costs


forced the SIFA Fireside centre in Digbeth to give up the service at


Christmas. The Worcester players stepped in to buy food and cook


breakfast once a week. After we featured the story on Midlands


Today, other businesses and groups have come forward to help provide


meals for around 100 homeless people a day.


A former West Bromwich Albion striker has left the entire contents


of his luxury home to charity. Markus Rosenberg has left the club


to play for Malmo in his native Sweden. But instead of taking the


furniture from his home in Solihull, he got his agent to arrange to give


it to the Sue Ryder charity. We were absolutely amazed. We have


never had a foot taller donate any items to us that we are aware of.


The money that we raise we believe will be around ?3500. It will go


towards incredible care. Let's hope it raises more money than he managed


to score goals for the Albion. Onto sport. And it's been a pretty awful


week to be a groundsman. Out in all weathers, working hard to get the


game on despite the nonstop rain. Tomorrow lunchtime, Shrewsbury Town


are due to play Port Vale. So today, Ian Winter went to the Greenhous


Meadow to check up on the state of the pitch.


For one day only, Richard... Andrew... And Ken have acquired a


willing apprentice. So this morning, at the Greenhous Meadow, it was four


blokes with four forks working flat out to make sure tomorrow's game


between Shrewsbury and Port Vale has the very best chance of beating the


weather. Have you ever known anything like it? No, we have had


some windy times but it is just so matter storm. We have seen the


forecast, we will wait to see what happens in the morning. We will have


to wait and see what tomorrow brings. You have done well to find


him. There is usually a cardboard cutout of him and he's in the pub by


now. Since moving here, she was behind never had a game called off


due to a waterlogged pitch. What a contrast to their previous ground.


Ever since 1911, flooding used to be an almost annual event for


Shrewsbury Town. When the river burst its banks, the phrase


waterlogged pitch somehow felt inadequate. For 25 years, it was


Brian Perry's job to care for the football pitch beneath the floods.


And today, he's returning to the site of the old Gay Meadow for the


first time since retiring. No wonder he's surprised to find 179


family homes being built exactly where Shrewsbury Town used to play


football. Your job must have been a nightmare.


Yes, it was but I enjoyed every minute of it. People would ask me


about if the rain will stop the game on Saturday. It used to come down


quick and come up quick. Once the water on the pitch was there, there


was nothing I could do. But is when I went home for a cup of tea. Which


is exactly what groundsmen have always done when the rain pours


down. And the forecast for the next few hours remains wet, wet, wet. And


there'll be a pitch inspection at 8:15am.


Throughout the programme we've seen just how awful the weather has been


today. How's it looking for the weekend, Rebecca?


I almost dare not say this, Mary, but all signs are pointing to things


improving ever so slightly as we head into next week, and things


today haven't been quite as bad as we were expecting. Although we have


had some heavy bursts across the region. That said, we do still have


a Met Office yellow weather warning in place for heavy rain tonight and


through tomorrow as low pressure continues to sit above the country.


And this is the system that has brought today's unsettled weather,


and through tonight winds are strengthening. We could get gusts of


40`50mph tonight as we head towards tomorrow morning. We also have


showers rattling through the region too. At times they will be heavy and


with the cloud and the winds temperatures aren't going to fall


away too far. Temperatures 5`6 Celsius. It'll be a grey and wet


start to Saturday, with blustery conditions too. Those showers


banding up again at times. As that area of low pressure moves, our wind


direction will change, bringing in some colder air, we could see some


wintry showers over the Staffordshire moorlands. But slowly


through the day tomorrow we will see those showers moving away. With


drier and brighter conditions from the north, feeling colder though.


Temperatures a few degrees colder than today. So a clear night to


come, with a few showers remaining over the north midlands, at times


they could be a little wintry. But under clear skies with cooler air a


widespread frost is on the cards, with temperatures dropping down to


around freezing point. We could see some icy stretches developing too on


untreated surfaces. But Sunday is looking like a much better day ` the


best day of the weekend with dry and bright conditions, sunshine and


lighter winds through the day. It is feeling colder though, with


temperatures hovering between seven and nine Celsius. It doesn't last


too long though as cloud starts to build through the afternoon ahead of


the next band of rain moving in. Despite that though, the low is not


as extreme as we've seen recently and it finally looks like we are


returning to slightly more normal winter weather.


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at 10pm with the latest on the


flood warnings. It's been a week dominated by the weather, we'll


leave you with some of the images captured by phone, and on our


cameras from helicopter, four by four, tractor, boat and in lots of


pairs of wellies. Unfortunately, the impacts are


really starting to happen now. It has been seeping through the


concrete. Water gets everywhere, doesn't it?


You just find yourself thinking, what else am I going to do?


Quite significant damage. And some very upset children when they


realise what has happened. This has caused a lot of distress


for a lot of people. The city centre has been in sort of locked down.


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