TEMPLATE: Blog one column
Another low pressure system is moving towards the UK. I think the centre of this low pressure system will move between the North of Scotland and Iceland during Friday and will stall in this position over the weekend. Friday is looking like it will be another very wet day with some very breezy conditions and […]
Waste firms have been fined over a huge mound of “stomach-churning” rubbish that “smelled like sewage”.Company directors have also been sentenced in connection with what the Environment Agency said was almost 2,000 tonnes of abandoned waste.The smell from the site on Shaw Road, Dudley, was also compared by the body to rotting vegetables.It said dust covered cars while debris blocked guttering and affected air conditioning at nearby factory units.Rowanoak Waste Services Ltd was fined £25,000 for breaching regulations.At an earlier hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court, jurors found Rowanoak failed to comply with environmental permit conditions and enforcement notices.The Environment Agency said the site was abandoned in 2016, but was still having an impact on neighbouring businesses, covering its vehicles and customers’ cars.Former director Kevin Allan, 59, of Roundway Down, Perton, Wolverhampton, was convicted over his failure to comply with environmental permit conditions.He was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also disqualified as a company director for three years.Ex-director Randle Hawkins, 59, of Quarry Brow, Upper Dudley, was convicted of failing to comply with a revocation notice requiring all waste to be moved from the site.He was cleared of breaching permit conditions and enforcement notices, and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.Latest news from the West MidlandsIn February 2018, joint operator of the site, Mak Waste Ltd, admitted a failure to comply with the conditions of environmental permits there.The firm has been fined £18,000, to be paid within 12 months.A director, Brian McIntosh, 28, of Adams Hill, Bartley Green, Birmingham, who admitted the same charge, was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified as a company director for five years.Edward Venables, formerly Edward Boulton, 44, of Larkspur, Dosthill, Tamworth, was also a director of Mak Waste Ltd. He was found not guilty of three charges of failing to comply with environmental permit regulations, the Environment Agency said.It said Allan, Hawkins and McIntosh had “shown a complete disregard for the local community, subjecting local businesses to months of misery”.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
A service has been held marking 50 years since the first British troops were deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland.Operation Banner saw more than 300,000 personnel deployed and continued from 14 August 1969 to 31 July 2007.About 2,000 veterans and their families attended a Royal British Legion event at the National Memorial Arboretum. The service included accounts from former Royal Ulster Constabulary, Army and firefighting personnel.Among the veterans at the service was gunner Paul Thomas Haigh who served a tour with the Royal Artillery in Belfast in 1974.Speaking about the importance of the commemoration, the retired 64-year-old, from Coventry, said: “We should remember the people who have fallen there to keep the peace.”In the course of the deployment 722 military personnel died in paramilitary attacks and 719 from other causes.All the names of those who died are inscribed on the Armed Forces Memorial, which marks the centrepiece of the arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire.
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Another veteran attending was Paul Newton, 52, an RAF medic who served a three-year tour in Northern Ireland at RAF Aldergrove.He said: “As a medic, I’ve been out to situations where there have been bombings.”You become very mechanical in your first aid, treating people to make sure they’re OK and have life-saving treatment.”But there are times when I still think, ‘I wonder what happened to the guy who lost both his arms and leg or how the helicopter crash got on’.”Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
A £137m extension to West Midlands Metro has been delayed by HS2.The Eastside Metro line would reach to the Digbeth area of Birmingham, passing underneath Curzon Street Station – a yet-to-be-built hub for the proposed high speed rail network.But the tramline extension, initially earmarked for a 2022 opening, is still waiting for Government approval amid uncertainty surrounding £56bn HS2.HS2 says it is working to ensure Eastside’s “successful integration”.The extended tramline – set to offer connections with Birmingham railway stations New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill – may not be operational until 2026, the BBC understands.Documents seen by the BBC reveal HS2 is concerned that planned construction at the Curzon site presents “logistical challenges”.An HS2 spokesman said the project was working closely with Metro owner-operator Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to ensure the successful integration of the Eastside extension – a “vital part of the connectivity to the new high speed rail network”.He added: “Taking more time now will help us deliver contracts which, in the long term, deliver best value for HS2, the taxpayer and our future contractor.”Latest news from the West MidlandsAnalysis by Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands Business and Transport CorrespondentBuilding tram lines in city centres is never easy, but add in the fact that the Birmingham Eastside extension has to cross a worksite occupied by HS2 and things inevitably become even more complex. With the funding in place, TfWM just needs approval and powers to build from the government. But obtaining the powers has been more difficult than anyone envisaged.Ministers had clearly been holding back from giving the green light to the scheme while negotiations between HS2 and TfWM continued.It means that a deadline to have the scheme up and running in time for the Commonwealth games has now been missed and instead the line will be built in two halves and connected in the middle once HS2 has built its station.It’s far from satisfactory, but at least it gets the bulk of the line built.Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City council, said: “There’s always going to be difficulties along the way and likely delays.”We’ll continue to work with HS2 to ensure we can link up the Metro line through to Digbeth and that side of the city as quickly as we can.”Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said the original plan was to have the extension completed by 2022.”We’ve been unable to achieve that in part because of the delay in the build of [Curzon Street] station itself,” she said.”What we’re trying now to do is to achieve the best result we can.”Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
A woman who made claims of organised child sexual abuse involving politicians is under investigation for allegedly lying about her account.Staffordshire Police confirmed it was probing whether Esther Baker misled detectives who originally investigated her story.Former MP John Hemming, one of those she accused, described himself as a victim of the allegations.Ms Baker said “if there was something to find” police would have found it. The force, which spent more than a year investigating Ms Baker’s allegations in 2015 and 2016, said its current inquiry was ongoing. In a statement, it said: “Following a complaint made to officers, the matter is being investigated and the file is currently with Staffordshire Police’s head of crime for review and consideration of next steps.”The complaint was made by Mr Hemming, who said Ms Baker should be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice.Mr Hemming was interviewed under caution by officers in 2015 following Ms Baker’s accusation.In 2017 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped its case as it failed to meet the required level of evidence. Ms Baker waived her right to anonymity during media interviews and received significant coverage for her claims, with her case mentioned in the House of Commons. She claimed she was taken with other children to woodland in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire to be raped, and alleged uniformed police officers were sometimes present. A deceased former MP was also accused.Ms Baker’s story was featured by the now defunct website Exaro News. A separate Exaro interviewee – Carl Beech – was jailed last month for 18 years after being convicted of making false allegations of abuse and murder involving public figures.Ms Baker said the “next steps” mentioned by police “have apparently not yet got to the stage of even interviewing me about [perverting the course of justice] after four years of [Mr Hemming] alleging it”.She added that over the last four years, officers “have had full access to all of my computers, devices and anything they want – plus 150-ish hours of video interviews”.Ms Baker said: “If there was something to find I’m sure they’d have found it by now.”Mr Hemming, who served as the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley for a decade, said: “A number of people have been harassing my family and myself based upon these false allegations for a number of years.”The authorities should take action to stop this. The money spent by the police on the allegations of Esther Baker is money which was not available for dealing with truthful allegations.”
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