02/04/2014 Midlands Today


02/04/2014

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Good evening. Health chiefs are tonight issuing advice to p`tients

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with heart or lung problems as increased levels of air pollution

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hang over the West Midlands. Weather forecasters say levels are dxpected

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to soar as local and Europe`n emissions mix with dust frol the

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Sahara. Pollution experts s`y today's developments are a wake`up

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call for the Government. Liz Copper reports. At this weather st`tion in

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Coventry, climatic conditions are measured daily. Methodicallx and

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meticulously, meteorological data is collected to help forecasters. We

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are monitoring the weather on an hourly basis. We do this for The Met

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office and obviously for anx agencies that might be interested,

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like environmental agencies, in monitoring pollution. This tnusual

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set of conditions is being closely checked as the region braces itself

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for high levels of air pollttion over the next few days. The scare at

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the moment, if there is a scare is about particulate matter. Vdry tiny

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specks of dust. They get into people's lungs and threaten asthma,

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and people with bronchial problems, which is why, of course, people are

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being told not to do any outside strenuous activities. Of cotrse

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historically, the Midlands' industrial heritage meant ahr

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pollution levels were much higher than they are now. Although weather

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experts are urging caution, we are also being encouraged to kedp

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today's forecast in context and not to panic unduly. Today is something

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of a wake`up call for us because, actually, we have an underlxing air

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pollution problem in this country. It's just that most of the time it

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doesn't trigger the alarms `nd it's not quite as easy to sense with our

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eyes and noses as it is tod`y. At this monitoring station in

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Birmingham, the city's air`pollution levels are checked. Environlental

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groups are concerned emissions could worsen the effects of smog `nd

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contribute towards poor air quality. It is a massive problem in the UK

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and in Birmingham. Air pollttion contributes towards 29,000 premature

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deaths in the UK alone each year and probably to about 500`530 premature

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deaths in Birmingham alone. Near to Birmingham Airport, the gloomy

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conditions meant planes could barely be seen this afternoon. But the

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outlook is set to improve. Meteorologists have been monitoring

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the situation on an hourly basis. The good news is high pollution

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levels are expected to ebb `way by the weekend.

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A worker at a care home in Tividale in the Black Country has bedn

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arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting an 85`year`old m`n. The

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25`year`old man worked at W`rrens Hall Nursing Centre, which hs

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privately run by BUPA and specialises in looking after people

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with Parkinson's disease. Hd's been released on bail as police carry out

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further inquiries. A blind man who fought off luggers

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when they held him at knife`point says he's now too scared to leave

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his home. Andy Muxlow from Lalvern in Worcestershire was attacked on

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Friday night. It's thought the muggers watched him take money from

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a cash point in Barnards Grden before threatening him with a knife.

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As I was leaving the scene, I heard them shout, well, we know where you

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live. That has really frightened me. I'm scared to go out on my own now.

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It has knocked my confidencd. The West Bromwich Albion striker

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Saido Berahino says he's now not considering taking legal action

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against team`mate James Morrison, after the England under`21 player

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was punched during a dressing room row. In a statement released on the

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club's website the player s`id he was, "Only focussing on Sattrday's

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game at Norwich". Final testing's been taking place on

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the first five vehicles in ` new fleet of hi`tech trams for the

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Midland Metro, due to go into full service this summer. The new

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vehicles, which have been btilt in Spain, are costing 40 million pounds

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` they'll be part of the line extension into Birmingham Chty

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centre. Here's our transport correspondent, Peter Plisner.

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Nice control on the gradient. Remember we've got a bit of an

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incline here. Driver training on board one of the new trams. They're

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very different from the existing vehicles and this morning they were

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turning heads at the station. They look more comfortable, more than the

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old ones. They look like thd Virgin Trains. Very nice, very moddrn.

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These new trams do seem to get a much smoother ride than the old

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ones. They are also much more spacious, around a third bigger

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able to take around 50 more passengers. Which hopefully means in

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the future, less overcrowding on the Midland Metro. In all, 20 trams are

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being built in in Spain. Already five have been delivered. E`ch one

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of these vehicles is costing ?2 million pounds. It is a real wow

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factor, I think. They look special, they look much more comfort`ble than

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the previous trams. They ard state of the art. They are 21st`cdntury

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trams. And appearently they're also getting wows from the drivers. They

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handle well around corners when we have been working around thd depot.

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They are very nice smooth trams That is a bit like a car, isn't it?

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There are very nice. I think it is the BMW of the car world. The Metro

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depot in the Black Country hs being expanded to house the new fleet and

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it's there that they're being thoroughly tested. The tram

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manufacturer have a team of engineers here on site and they have

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been commissioning tests. N`tional Express, the operator of thd trams,

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are also carrying out systel integration tests. The first of the

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new trams enters service thhs summer but passengers can get closd up look

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around one of them at Snow Hill station in Birmingham this Saturday.

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A father and son team from Shropshire are hoping their model

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Red Arrows planes will win them a world title this summer. Stdve

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Bishop and his son Matthew, from Telford, have spent more th`n

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?20,000 building the two quarter`scale aircraft. Thex'll be

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flying them at the World Formation Cup in Germany hoping to improve on

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last year's second place. Flying one aircraft is hard enough

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but flying two, it's probably one of the most hardest things you can do.

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Cos you're not in the model and you can't see the third dimension. So

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you have to have a lot of trust between me and my son when we fly

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together. That's all from the late te`m. We'll

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be back at breakfast from shx tomorrow morning. The weathdr's next

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with Rebecca. Bye for now. with

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Pollution levels were continued to tomorrow. Tomorrow it does not look

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like a great day. We have some showers in the afternoon and not

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much brightness either. Tonhght is largely dry. There will still be

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some showers, sometimes heavy. We could have some mist and fog

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forming. It is really mild with temperatures at ten or 11 Cdlsius.

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Tomorrow will start misty. Not much brightness through the day `nd then

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some showers from the South in the afternoon. Some could be he`vy and

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thundery. Here is the outlook for the next

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be dry. The air pollution has been hitting the headlines today. For

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more information on that, here is my colleague.

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Good evening. Very hazy skies in London today and many other towns

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and cities across the UK. On Thursday there is the chance of some

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pretty high pollution in the south-east and East Anglia but by

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the time we get towards the end of the week, we will see clearer

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Atlantique air coming in and we should get rid of the Saharan dust

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which has been making services grubby in the last few days. You can

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see the pattern across the Atlantic. We also have a weather

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front. The beginning of that change is affecting many western areas of

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the UK. This particular cloud across the North Sea, you can see there is

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a general drift here towards Scotland and the North Sea

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