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Industrial action to disrupt rail services

BBC News Travel

Planned industrial action by members of the RMT Union means London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway will run a reduced service on Saturdays in November and December.

A very basic service will run on those routes.

The National Rail website warns significant disruption is expected so consider if your journey is absolutely necessary.

Unemployment in West Midlands falls

The number of people in the West Midlands who are unemployed fell slightly between July and September, new Office for National Statistics figures show.

Of people aged 16 and over, 4.1% were out of work in those three months, down 0.5% on the previous quarter.

Graph
BBC

The average unemployment rate for the UK was 3.8% in the same period and the ONS figures also show UK wage growth slowed down in that time.

Jury sworn in for trial of pair accused of murder

A jury has been sworn in for the trial of two people charged with murdering a woman in Birmingham.

Lisa Bennett
West Midlands Police

Kevin Flanagan, 39, and Kathleen Salmond, 40, both deny murdering 39-year-old Lisa Bennett (pictured) in the Weoley Castle area of Birmingham.

Salmond, 40,of Farnhurst Road, Hodge Hill, also denies benefit fraud and preventing Ms Bennett's burial.

Ms Bennett was believed to be living in the Selly Oak area but was originally from Burton-upon-Trent and reported missing by a family member in May 2013.

The case against Salmond and Flanagan, of Redbrook Covert, is expected to open on Wednesday.

Uncertainty over flooding risk

It's not clear how badly the West Midlands will be affected by flooding tomorrow, but the Environment Agency is urging people to keep an eye on its flood alerts.

The Met Office currently doesn't have a yellow warning for the region until heavy rain arrives on Thursday, but that could change, the Environment Agency warned.

Flooding in field
Ken M

It currently has flood alerts of high water levels affecting Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

Wet weather likely to cause travel problems

A band of heavy rain could cause flooding and travel disruption in parts of Staffordshire this morning, the Met Office is warning.

Weather map
Met Office

A yellow weather warning covering parts of of the region is in place until midday.

A wider warning, covering the whole of the West Midlands, has been issued for Thursday.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Tonight will stay windy and chilly with some clear spells and lows of 1C (34F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Weather warning for rain issued

Homes and businesses could be flooded and travel disrupted by heavy rain across the West Midlands the Met Office is warning.

Weather warning
Met Office

A yellow warning for rain is in place for parts of Staffordshire until 12:00 on Tuesday.

A wider warning for Thursday covers the whole of the West Midlands.

Eleven flood warnings and many more alerts have also been issued after recent wet weather.

Fears of flooding as EA issues string of warnings

Eleven flood warnings are in place across the region with many less severe flood alerts also in place.

Flood map
Environment Agency

Levels on the River Avon at Evesham are expected to peak through the morning, said the Environment Agency.

River levels are set to remain high throughout the week, it added.

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Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It will be a windy day with some showers and highs of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some clear spells and feeling cold with lows of -1C (30F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Flood affected roads

BBC News Travel

Flooding caused by heavy rain on Thursday is still affecting roads around the region.

  • Flooding under the bridge has closed the A4123 New Birmingham Road in Tipton between Tipton Road and Birmingham Road.
  • The A531 Swan Bank road in Bowsey Wood Staffordshire is closed from Bowsey Wood Road to Newcastle Road.
  • The B4368 is closed in Diddlebury, Shropshire, between Mill Lane and Corfton Bache.
  • Green Lane in Oddingley Worcestershire is closed from Hulls Lane to Plough Lane.
  • This is the scene on Maw Lane, Maw Green in Cheshire which is closed between Maw Green and Haslington.
Maw Green
Mike Jennings
  • Gresty Lane is closed in Shavington, Crewe from Gresty Green Road to Rope Lane.
  • New Street is closed in Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire between Old Street and Upper Hook Road
  • Orchard Green in Wellington, Herefordshire, is affected between the A49 Marden turn off and Walkers Green.
  • Watery Lane in Lower Bullingham, Herefordshire is closed in both directions between Lower Bullingham Lane and B4399

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early rain and showers should clear leaving a drier afternoon with highs of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a chilly evening with clear periods and lows of 2C (36F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Flood warning issued as river levels rise

A flood warning has been issued for the River Dene at Walton in Warwickshire, with homes and businesses at risk of flooding.

Flood map
Environment Agency

River levels are expected to remain high until Friday with rain forecast.

Less serious weather alerts are in place across the West Midlands.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a largely dry and cloudy day with highs of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More rain on the way tonight

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After the showers this afternoon, it's set to turn drier this evening but more rain's on the way overnight:

Rich Davis

You can get the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

You might need your umbrella later

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

A cold start but it should be a mainly dry start to the day although rain's expected later:

Rich Davis

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Ambulance service takes over non-emergency 111 line

West Midlands Ambulance service will take over the running of the non-emergency 111 phone line across most of the region from today.

The trust says the move will reduce the number of ambulances being sent out on calls that don’t require one.

It’s also promised to significantly increase the number of people working on the service, which was previously run by private company Care UK.

A generic image of an ambulance
PA Media

Showery night ahead

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

There'll be showers tonight, mixed with some drier, clearer spells:

Alex Hamilton

You can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

More M6 woe

BBC News Travel

All change - again.

While one of two shut M6 southbound lanes has reopened, a third has been closed due to a broken-down vehicle. Drivers have been advised to take care in the area.

The good news, Highways England says, pertains to lane two between between Junction 16 for Barthomley in Cheshire and J15 for Hanchurch, Staffordshire.

Northbound lanes shut after an early-morning crash were reopened earlier.

Lanes closed after crash on M6 southbound

BBC News Travel

We told you moments ago about problems that had eased on the M6 northbound. But in the other direction, there have been more issues.

Two southbound lanes have been closed following a collision between a lorry and a car.

Highways England says traffic officers are en route to the scene between Junction 16 for Barthomley in Cheshire and J15 for Hanchurch, Staffordshire.

It is warning of delays of up to 70 minutes, with six miles of congestion back to J17.

Homes wanted for 'puppy farm' dogs

Allen Cook

BBC News

Homes are being sought for 60 dogs recovered from a property which police said was linked to a suspected puppy farm.

A dog in a council officer's arms
Cannock Chase Council

The animals were removed from the address in Cannock last month and police are continuing to investigate the case.

In the meantime, the district council says the Dogs Trust charity has taken charge of finding permanent homes for the dogs and will begin rehoming from 11 November.

They include chihuahua, German Shepherd and bullmastiff types.

Walsall vehicle enthusiast buys fire engine on eBay
Walsall vehicle enthusiast Lawrence Garbett videos the restoration of a fire engine he bought for £1,500

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early mist should clear leaving a windy day with some showers and highs of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

BreakingStrike action set to hit Christmas rail services

West Midlands Railway workers are set to take strike action on seven Saturdays leading up to and through the Christmas period.

The RMT trade union said it had been left with "no choice" other than to call the industrial action "over plans by the company to bulldoze through driver only operation".

Members have been instructed to not book on for any shifts on seven consecutive Saturdays starting 16 November, it added.

West Midlands Railway
BBC

The RMT has opposed the introduction of driver-only-operated trains - where drivers close doors instead of guards - which started rolling out across the country in 2017.

The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "We will not allow the drive for profit to override the core issue of safe and accessible services for all on West Midlands Trains and we stand firm on that very basic principle."

The Office of Rail and Road, in charge of safety on the railways, has previously said "with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working".

West Midlands Railway said if the strike goes ahead contingency plans have been made to run a skeleton service using managers.

We are disappointed at the outcome of the ballot. We have committed to keeping a guard on every passenger train. We reached a framework agreement with RMT in May last year which guaranteed a safety-critical conductor on every passenger train. We remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without disruption and inconvenience for our passengers."

West Midlands Railway statement

Air ambulance flies 54,000th mission

Allen Cook

BBC News

It's been a big week for the Midlands Air Ambulance team, they've flown their 54,000th mission since beginning in 1991.

It covers six counties - West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire - and responds to some of the most serious accidents as well as reaching rural locations inaccessible by land ambulance.

"Tetris"
Midlands Air Ambulance

The charity, which relies on fundraising, started off 28 years ago at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, before moving to RAF Cosford, Shropshire.

Today it operates from three air bases at RAF Cosford, Strensham in Worcestershire and Tatenhill in Staffordshire.

To mark the 54,000th mission, on their Facebook page the team posted a photo where "we played Emergency Services Tetris".

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a wet and cloudy day with highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy evening with patchy rain and drizzle with lows of 7C (45F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Will it stay dry tonight?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

The dry weather's set to continue into tonight:

Alex Hamilton

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Dry, sunny and cold

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Staying dry today with long sunny spells mixed with some patchy cloud cover:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast at any other time for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a cold and possibly frosty start it will be a dry day with bright periods and highs of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Can we expect any more rain?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with clear skies which mean it will be chilly with lows of -2C (28F).

There's no rain forecast on Tuesday either but the weather could become more unsettled by the end of the week.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Floods shut roads and rail lines

Flooding is still affecting roads across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

In Hereford at least 20 homes were flooded over the weekend and residents at a care home had to be rescued.

Rail line
Network Rail

Rail services have also been affected and part of a track at Pontrilas, Herefordshire, has been washed away by flash floods.

Replacement bus services are running between Hereford and Newport with tickets being accepted on CrossCountry services.

The line is expected to remain closed all week.

Video: Will you need the big coat?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry and cool day with sunny periods and highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Wet start to the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

There'll be more rain tonight in the West Midlands, here's how the start of the weekend is looking:

Rebecca Wood

You can keep up-to-date by heading to the BBC Weather website for a latest forecast for your area.