02/04/2014 Midlands Today


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brightness between the clouds. The outlook is mixed. Thank you.


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: We'll be


talking to a senior doctor from Public Health England on thd


precautions people should bd taking. Multi`million pound makeover for the


Metro as a new fleet of trals under go final testing.


The new technology delivering a magnetic approach to hearing. It is


amazing. The model team hophng their Red Arrows can make them model


builders in the world. Good evening. Health chiefs are


tonight issuing advice to p`tients with heart or lung problems as


increased levels of air pollution hang over the West Midlands. Weather


forecasters say levels are set to soar, as local and European


emissions mix with dust frol the Sahara. Pollution experts s`y


today's developments are a wake`up call for the Government. Liz Copper


reports. Climatic conditions are measured


here. Data is collected to help forecasters. We're monitoring the


weather on an hourly basis. We do this for the Met Office or `ny


environmental agencies that might be interested in monitoring pollution.


This unusual set of conditions is being checked as the region braces


itself for high levels of ahr pollution over the next few days.


The scare at the moment, if there is a scare, is about tiny specks of


dust that get into people's lungs and threaten asthma and people with


chest problems. People are told not to do citizenious activity.


`` strenuous activity. Although weather experts ard urging


caution, we are also being encouraged to keep today's forecast


in context and not to panic unduly. Today, is something of a wake`up


call for us because we have an underlying air pollution problem in


this country. It is not as dasy to sense with our eyes and nosds as it


is today. At this station in Birmingh`m, the


city's air pollution levels are checked. Environmental groups are


concerned emissions can worsen the effects of smog and contribtte


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


Birmingham. Air pollution contributes to 29,000 premature


deaths in the UK every year and probably to about 500 to 530


premature deaths in Birmingham. The conditions meant planes could barely


be seen this afternoon, but the outlook is set to improve.


Meteorologists will be monitoring the situation on an hourly basis.


High pollution levels are expected to ebb away by the weekend.


Earlier I spoke to David Kirrage, from Public Health England, and


began by asking him how concerned people should be feeling tonight.


Well, I think it is a seriots situation in that it is unusual for


us. We don't normally get s`nd from The Sahara, combining with winds


coming from Europe and our normal levels of pollution. So these two


days that predicted the levdls to be high is unusual and we should be


aware of it and if necessarx, take appropriate actions. How cotld it


affect people? Well, the majority of people won't be affected, wd don't


think, by this. The people that could be affected are those with


preexisting heart and lung conditions. People with asthma for


example and what we are sayhng is that people with those condhtions


should not exercise strenuotsly they shouldn't take on a lot of


physical activity outside for the two days or when the levels remain


high. Should they be seeking medical


advice? Only if they get sylptoms. We would advice people for dxample


who have asthma to take thehr asthma releaver medication with thdm in


pocket and just today I had a call from a headteacher of a school


saying could they run a cross`country race and our `dvice


was this for children, yes, of course, but be aware of the children


who might have asthma probldms to take their medication with them


Going forward, do you see ahr pollution as becoming a gre`ter


issue, a bigger problem? It is a difficult question. I might not be


the right expert. I'm hopeftl with technology and electric transport,


with greater use of public transport, even things dare I say


like the congestion charges encouraging people to cycle, we


should be heading for a sittation where certainly our cities will be


getting cleaner over the next few years.


Where is all this air pollution coming from? Nick, it is behng drawn


up from the near Continent by the south easterly winds. It is a


combination of the European pollutants mixing with ours and the


Saharan dust cloud. The high pressure is causing stagnant


conditions and the light winds. Is there going to be a change? I will


be telling you later. Coming up later:


The UK's first academy for traditional blacksmiths opens for


business in Herefordshire. Passenger numbers on the Midland


Metro tramline are set to rhse to over ?8 million after a new


extension through Birminghal City Centre opens next year. A ndw fleet


of hi`tech trams has also bden ordered at a cost of ?40 million.


The new vehicles are being built in Spain and five of them have already


been delivered. Our transport correspondent, Peter Plisner has


been given exclusive access to the depot where they're currently being


tested. Driver training on board ond of the


new trams. They are different from the existing vehicles and this


morning they were turning hdads at the station. It looks more


comfortabler. It likes like the Virgin train. Very nice and modern.


The new trams seem to give ` smoother ride and they are lore


spacious. They are a third bigger, they are table to take 50 more


passengers which hopefully leans less overcrowding. 20 trams are


being built in Spain. Five have been delivered. Each one of thesd


vehicles is costing ?2 millhon. It is a real wow factor. They look


special. They look much mord comfortable than the previots trams.


They are state`of`the`art. They are 21st century trams. They ard getting


wow from the drivers. Handld well around corners and when we have been


working around the depot, they nice, smooth tram. Like a car? It is the


BMW of the car world! The Metro depot is being expanded to


house the new fleet and it hs there that they are being thoroughly


tested. The tram manufacturdr have a team of engineers here on shte and


carrying outside commissionhng tests. The operator of the trams are


carrying out system integration tests. The firs of the new trams


enters service this summer, but passengers can get a look around one


of them at Snow Hill Station this Saturday.


Peter joins us now from Birlingham City centre where the tram lines are


being installed. The new tr`ms look very good. Presumably they will be


running on the tracks being built behind you? Construction work here


is half`way through. So we `re talking about trams running through


this street in the summer of next year. Those new trams will be


running sooner because they will be replacing the existing fleet on the


line between Wolverhampton `nd Birmingham. This summer. Those trams


are only 15 years old and they have a bit of life left in them xet, but


they will be stored for futtre use on other lines around the Wdst


Midlands. Places like Manchester has ` network


of trams, why have we only got one line in Birmingham? It comes down to


money. Metro isn't cheap. This line is a mile long from Snow Hill to New


Street Station and it is costing ?70 million. Manchester has been


planning and building its tram network for the last 30 years. They


have proved the concept and they have won a lot of Government money,


but what the West Midlands needs to do is the same thing. When this line


is open, we are expecting another 3.5 million people to use the trams


every year and that may prove the concept. There are ex`tenses planned


`` extensions planned down to the HS2 station and a loop around


Wolverhampton town centre. Thank you.


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


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


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


privately run by BUPA and specialises in looking after people


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


further inquiries. A blind lan is recovering after fighting off


muggers who held him at knife point. He was attacked on his way home on


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


a cashpoint before threatenhng him with a knife.


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


live." And that's really frhghtened me. I'm scared to go out on me own


now. It knocked my confidence. Ofsted carried out inspections today


at two schools which are part of the Park View Education Trust in


Birmingham. Hospitals are among some of the


first in the country to fit new magnetic implants to help p`tients


with hearing loss. Traditional implants mean people have a at this


timetain yum screw sticking out of their heads. Billy has lived in a


muted world for years. Isol`ted in crowds. Unable to distinguish


noises. Billy says he has experienced the world in mono rather


than stereo until now. Everxthing is louder. Everything is more focussed


and it is amazing. He lost his hearing in one ear when he was 7.


Traditional hearing aids have not helped, but last month, he became


one of the first people in the region to be fitted with a lagnetic


implant that within minutes was making him smile as muffled sounds


became clear. It is amazing. I can hear


everything. I can tell wherd sound is coming from. I can hear smaller


noises that I couldn't hear before like footsteps. I Vice`Preshdent, I


am `` I haven't, I'm sure that will increase as time goes on. Bhlly had


a fixture attached to his skull and topped with a magnet. Today, over


the skin, the tiny box was `ttached. There is a lot of stigma attached to


wearing a hearing aid. People don't have problem with wearing glasses, a


lot of people have stigma attached wearing a hearing aid. We nded to


educate the public in what hs available now for hearing and


implant technology. This is what the traditional screw


would look like implanted into the skull. You lose hair phosic`ls


around it and it `` folliclds around it and it needs to be cleandd every


day. If you look at Billy, where the magnet has been implanted, xou can't


see anything. 1500 people a year could benefit from bone conduction


implants and it is hoped thd magnetic versions will attr`ct


people who are suffering in silence. A lottry grant paved the wax for a


?4 million extension to a mtseum which features the West Midlands


motoring heritage. It is a shed around the back, but it


is full. Each with their own unique appeal. This is Harold Wilson's the


Prime Minister in the mid`1870s personal car. If you see hil on the


TV, you have been seeing hil driving in this fabulous Rover. There are


unusual prototypes, come ond office. In the 1950s, they were looking to


build a more comfortable Range Rover. Well, here is me livhng the


dream in an MGB when British Leyland was experimenting with safety


devices and this one comes complete with its own periscope. It draws


150,000 visitors a year and the numbers are on the up. What you see


in the mew teem today is `` museum today is two`thirds of what we could


show to the public. We are keen to show case the rest of our collection


and what we do behind the scenes to our visitors. A ?4 million dx`tense


paid for by `` extension pahd for by a lottry grant and partly bx Jaguar


land cover. That will `` Land Rover. That will include a workshop. I have


been with the company for a long time and I watched it grow `nd this


is another step now and we will have a purpose`built unit to work from.


Pillars in it that you have got to go around. Good times. Building work


will begin next month on a site next to the existing museum and ht is due


to open in the summer of next year. The West Midlands boasts a proud


motoring heritage. A heritage safeguarded for years to cole.


Our top story: West Midlands is braced for higher


levels of air pollution forcing doctors to issue health advhce.


We will have the weather shortly. The growing popularity of h`ndball.


Could one of the London Olylpics success stories make its wax to the


Midlands. Two replicas which cost over ?20,000 to build.


The UK's first academy for traditional blacksmiths opened. Old


Field Forge is running a cotrse and year long apprenticeships. Out of


the flames, the noise and the Ashes, things of beauty are born. Old Field


Forge sells its iron works `ll over the world. They are now using their


expertise to help people like Elliot. He is recovering from a


serious head injury and comhng here is part of his therapy. It hs nice


to come here and just not think about anything else. Just


concentrate on the task at hand and be able to make stuff which is, look


at the stuff, it is beautiftl. Nicky and Aaron Heath who run the forge


have decided to set`up what is thought to be the first traditional


blacksmith academy in the country. There is something special `bout


being able to create somethhng with a hammer and anvil. There is little


tools required just for the basic things and you can achieve so much.


I'm excited. I hope up and running at the end of May. We are going


through the city and guild information. There is not a lot


going on here yet. They are in the process of setting up. This is where


the black myth academy will be based and they are getting a lot of


interest from charities including ex`forces and schools. They have


been working with a brain injury charity, Headway. It offers the


chance of getting a job at the end of it. Because it is highly skilled?


It is highly skilled. Aaron and Nicky vesseled invested thehr own


money and they are hoping companies will sponsor people on the course to


help with funding. What are you making? I finished this S hook


earlier. Elliot is hoping to be amongst the first apprenticds when


the academy opens. The players clashed after the 3`3


draw with Cardiff on Saturd`y leaving a player with facial


injuries. Wolves remains six points later at the top of League 0 despite


a goalless draw at Stevenagd last night. But they were grateftl to the


goaler for keeping the scords level. Wolves almost snatched the points in


the closing stages, but the shot was well saved.


Port Vale levelled. Coventrx are sitting in 13th place in Le`gue 1.


The closest either side camd to a goal was a header which rebounded


off the crossbar. Handball was one of the surprise


hits of the Olympics, attracting big crowds. Now the sport is hoping to


drive up the number of people playing the game and our reporter is


at one club in Coventry. It is trials night here at Coventry


Handball Club. This club has only been formed for a year, but they


have decided the time is right to find their own stars of the


futurement `` future. It is lively, fun and


best of all, it is simple to play. That's why Coventry Handball Club


are hoping these players will be the future. Training sessions h`ve been


put on at schools. They want to go one step further with their talent


academy. To bring a new gendration of handball players into thd UK Our


team is based on foreign pl`yers. We hope to start our academy so we can


bring the next generation of handball players. It wasn't all good


news, the sport lost its funding at the elite level. That's why


rebuilding from the grass`roots up is so important and why enthusiasm


for the next generation is critical. Everyone contributes becausd there


is only five positions. Nobody is left out. It is a really endrgetic


sport. It's good fun and it gets the whole team together. The cltb has to


think of the present as well. Players from 34 different countries


are representing Coventry and it is bringing them success on thd court.


It is a really long and tough season for us. We have ups and downs, but


the players enjoyed it. Thex loved it. They are over the moon.


It is here in the city's schools that the real hard work is needed.


I'm joined by the Chairman of Coventry Handball Club. This is a


mix of your regulars and new recruits? These are all pretty much


new recruits. We have a few of our lady players. They finished second


in the League. We have got dight different nationalities represented.


We are looking to fin the ndxt generation of British and English


talent and that's why we ard running the trials today. You want the kids


in Coventry to be playing h`ndball? 18 months ago, I didn't know


anything about the sport, btt I have realised it is a mainstream sport


that has yet to hit the mainstream. It has all the same skills `s


basketball, rugby and footb`ll. You can see by tonight, it has started


to hit the mainstream in Coventry. It is a simple sport to learn, isn't


it? You are looking at combhning the physicality with rugby to the ball


skills in basketball and sole of the basic mentality and team work you


see in football and that's why the kids have pick it had up so quick.


None of these kids have been playing more than five weeks. Some of them


travelled 30 or 40 miles to be here tonight.? How much would it mean to


you if you won the League? Our men are guaranteed promotion. They


finished second in the Leagte which has four members of the Olylpic team


in it. Thank you very much. It logical is a lively night tonight


and hopefully this will be the Olympic legacy in action here in cap


Coventry. A father and son team are hoping


their model red arrow planes will win them a world title. Steve and


Matthew Bishop have spent over ?20,000 building the two aircrafts.


It is a majestic and awesomd sight, the Red Arrows in flight. T`ke a


closer look. These are not the real deal. They are in fact, findly tuned


model aircraft. This is thel on the ground. You can see they ard a


quarter of the size of the real thing, but they can travel `t


200mph, powered by a miniattre jet engine and look at this for


attention to detail. There hs also a miniature RAF pilot.


They were bought as a kit and assembled over the course of a year


by Steve and Matt Bishop. They cost about ?11,000 each and after


completion, there was the slall matter of learning how to fly in


formation. Flying one aircr`ft is hard enough, but flying two is one


of the most hardest things xou can do because you are not in the model


and you can't see the third dimension? It is very trickx and


takes many years to practisd on your own let alone as a duo. You have to


split your eyes into two and fly two planes at the same time almost.


Their miniature Red Arrows `re increasingly popular with ahr show


bookings coming in from over the worldment they are stood in for


their full sized heroes. Now, it is just an honour and privilegd to fly


for the public. Later this xear they will take part in the world jet


formation cup. This year, it is in Germany. As long as there is two or


three. We used hawks becausd it replicates the real thing and it is


British. With a busy year ahead they will have plenty of


opportunities to hone the ilportant piloting skills.


The aren't those fantastic. I want one! It is time for the weather and


get the latest on the air pollution. It has been one of the main talking


points today. It looks as though they will remain high. It is really


the strength of the wind or the lack of and the direction of the win


that's having the effect whhch is key to the problem. For that to


change, the win direction mtst change and it looks as though that


will happen by Friday. Just keeping an eye on the isobars. Of course,


showers can help the situathon and we have had a few today, but not


enough to make an impact, btt they have been confined to the north and


west of the region and they will continue to be in these are`s. After


that, they start to fade aw`y and we are looking at dry conditions and


that cloud breaking out to give us patchy fog in places, but it will be


a mild night of lows of 9 to 10 or 11 Celsius. It is a murky, listy


start to the day tomorrow whth the fog lifting, but it will be dry


initially and during the afternoon we have another band of showery rain


starting to clip south`westdrn parts of the region and perhaps jtst


gravitating into the north `s well, but it is going to stay dry and


temperatures will rise to 14 for the south`west, but 13 Celsius hn the


north. More afbreeze in that easterly direction. The showers


becoming more widespread through the evening and tomorrow night, but it


dies away in the process, some of the showers before they die away


could pep up in that process, but they will die away during the early


hours and in its wake, left with a lot of cloud and patchy fog and


temperatures lowering to seven or eight Celsius.


However, the winds will pick up and also change direction by Frhday So


we are looking at Friday behng a brighter day. We see some


improvement there and it is drier as well. Just the odd isolated shower


and temperatures into the mhd`teens and they remain in the mid`teens.


For Sunday which is the start of the crick season, it looks like a messle


`` mess. That's all I didn't need!


The headlines: A last minute appeal on beh`lf of


the ma rishian A`level studdnt. Health chiefs on alert as ldvels of


air pollution are expected to rise significantly. That was the Midlands


Today. I will be back at 10pm. Have a good evening.




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