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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 30 March 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

End of live updates

That's it for live updates today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Photos: Crews' progress at recycling plant fire

Fifty firefighters remain in Saltley after a fire at a recycling plant.

We're told that there are still pockets of burning material on the site and crews will remain there for several hours.

Here are the latest pictures, including this one taken from the sky of all the hoses.

Hoses at the recycling plant fire
West Midlands Fire Service
Firefighter pouring water on fire
West Midlands Fire Service

New flights at Birmingham Airport

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

Birmingham Airport has received a double boost today with the start of new services by Qatar Airways and Ryanair. 

Qatar will fly eight times a week to the capital Doha helping to strengthen the region's links with Asia and Africa. 

Ryanair has announced new flights to the Bulgarian capital Sofia and winter services to Spain and Italy.

Sandwell Hospital calls on help to ease pressure

Great Barr Observer

Bosses at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust – the body in charge of Sandwell General – are calling on more support from care homes following news that extra beds have been brought in to cope with demand.  

Sandwell Hospital sign
Great Barr Observer

Police officer charged with assaulting a man in custody

A serving West Midlands Police officer has been charged with assaulting a man in custody, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The IPCC says Police Sergeant Jason Hayles, 44, will appear before Birmingham Crown Court tomorrow charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Stechford Police Station, Birmingham, on 25 March last year.

Latest headlines: Government focused on Tata deal; police officer charged with assault

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories in the BBC WM newsroom this evening:

- The government says it's completely focused on working with Tata Steel to find a new buyer for its UK businesses, including ones in the West Midlands

- Aston Villa's newly restructured football board will discuss Remi Garde's replacement tomorrow, the BBC understands

- A serving West Midlands Police officer has been charged with assaulting a man in custody

Overnight forecast

BBC Weather

Any lingering showers will soon die out, to leave a dry night with clear spells across the region. 

Under the clear spells a widespread frost will develop, with a few mist and fog patches also forming with lows of -3C (27F).

This content only works in the UK.

Weather for the West Midlands

BreakingBirmingham recycling plant fire was 'accidental,' says fire service

Chris Blakemore

BBC WM

The fire at a recycling site in Birmingham was started "accidently", says West Midlands Fire Service.

Ben Diamond says 50 firefighters remain at the scene and investigators have been at the site.

The metal and plastics piles which caught fire yesterday (pictured) contained items including crushed cars.

Recycling plant fire
West Midlands Fire Service

Hull against Villa approach for Bruce

BBC Sport

Championship club Hull City says it would not welcome an approach from Aston Villa for manager Steve Bruce.

Bruce, 55, is a candidate to succeed the departing Remi Garde, along with Nigel Pearson, David Moyes and Sean Dyche.

Hull City manager Steve Bruce
Getty Images

No approach has been made nor would one be welcome.

SpokesmanHull City

Book of condolence for Sandwell Council leader

The acting leader of Sandwell Council says there will be a public commemoration of Darren Cooper in the near future.

Steve Eling led a minute's silence for staff in memory of the Sandwell Council leader who died suddenly over the Easter weekend.

View more on twitter

Video: Fire continues to burn at a Birmingham recycling plant

Firefighters remain at a recycling plant in Saltley.

At its height more than 100 firefighters attended the blaze which involved two large piles of plastic and metal.

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A fire continues to burn at a recycling plant in Birmingham but is now under control

Tata Steel: Workers' reaction

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

At the moment it's business as usual at TATA in Wednesfield. 

Workers I've spoken to say they've not been told anything about the situation, but they've been through restructuring before and have everything crossed.

Tata Steel said it could not give an "open ended" commitment to keep the UK plants open while a buyer was sought.

Tata Steel
BBC

Villa want Briton to replace Garde

BBC Sport

Aston Villa want a British manager to succeed sacked Frenchman Remi Garde,BBC Sport understands.

Former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and ex-Manchester United boss David Moyes have been tipped as replacements.

Pearson, Moyes, Dyche and Bruce
Getty Images
Pearson, Moyes, Dyche and Bruce are all possible candidates

But Burnley's Sean Dyche and Hull's Steve Bruce are also possible candidates.

Former Villa player and manager Brian Little, who recently joined the club's board of directors, will play a key role in the selection process but there is no rush to make an appointment.

Have your say: Aston Villa 'not good enough for the Premier League'

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

We posted a video on Facebook earlier asking "How bad is Remi Garde really?" compared to other Premier League bosses.

You got in touch with your comments:

View more on twitter

Mark Egan posts on Facebook: There's a common theme amongst all of them - the squads they were working with weren't good enough for the Premier League. Simple as that.  

Matthew Barrall adds: Glad Garde has gone. Players need to take the blame for such a poor poor season.  

CCTV appeal after man spat in face of bookie

Police are seeking this man to help with their investigations after an abusive customer spat in the face of an employee at a betting shop.

Officers say the staff member was assaulted when the customer was prevented from charging his laptop.

It happened at a branch of Bet Fred in Walsall town centre on 2 March at 19.10.

CCTV stills
West Midlands Police

One-minute silence held for council leader Darren Cooper

Members of Sandwell Council gathered in the town centre today for a one-minute silence to remember Darren Cooper.

The council leader died suddenly over the Easter weekend.

View more on twitter

Books of condolence have opened at the Council House in Oldbury and Smethwick Library today.

At the scene: Scrapyard fire latest

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

Efforts are continuing to put out a major fire at a scrap yard in Birmingham this lunchtime. 

At its height yesterday more than 100 firefighters were called to the recycling plant in Saltley after tonnes of metal went up in flames.

There had been concerns about gas and electricity supplies lying very close to the site, but the fire has now been brought under control:

View more on twitter

Two men injured after quad bike hits wall

Two men in their 20s are being treated in hospital after the quad bike they were riding hit a wall.

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it was called to the crash, near Cherry Orchard Road and Coopers Road in Handsworth, at 1.50.

One of the men was taken to the QE Hospital with a suspected head injury. The second suffered shoulder pain and some cuts to his face. 

Latest headlines: Search for new Villa manager starts; Trade union calls for government to find steel investors

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories in the BBC WM newsroom this lunchtime include:

Aston Villa Football Club is looking for a new manager after the departure of Remi Garde

- The steelworkers trade union says the government needs to intervene and help find new investors for Tata Steel

Firefighters remain at a recycling plant in Birmingham that was the scene of a huge fire yesterday

Future of Tata Steel jobs in doubt across the West Midlands

There's uncertainty over the future of hundreds of jobs across the West Midlands after the news that Tata Steel plans to sell its loss-making UK business.

The Indian firm has sites in Wednesbury, Walsall, Halesowen, Willenhall and Brierley Hill (pictured), along with an office in Birmingham. 

The UK and Welsh governments have insisted they are working "tirelessly" to ensure the future of the British steel industry, while analysts say a sale may be complicated amid difficult trading conditions.

Tata Brierley Hill
Google

I think it is unlikely we will see a buyer for the business as a whole.

Colin HamiltonCommodities expert at Macquarie Group

How bad is Remi Garde really?

BBC WM Sport

Garde's record of two wins from 20 matches makes him the worst Villa boss in the Premier League era. 

He suffered heavy defeats at Everton, Man City and most notably at home to Liverpool, but how does his record compare to struggling managers at other clubs over the years? Watch our video to find out.

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Aston Villa: How bad is Remi Garde really?

Meanwhile, assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of Villa until a new man's appointed.

Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and former Blues boss Steve Bruce are among the bookies' favourites.

Firefighters still at recycling blaze

About 70 firefighters have been working throughout the night to tackle a blaze at a recycling plant in Birmingham.

Overhead view of the fire
West Midlands Fire Service

Power supplies to 4,000 homes were cut off at 19:45 on Tuesday because the site of the fire is underneath pylons.  

Latest headlines: Remi Garde leaves Villa; 70 firefighters tackle blaze at scrapyard overnight

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top news stories for Birmingham and the Black Country this morning include:

Aston Villa have parted company with their manager Remi Garde by mutual consent

- Seventy firefighters have been working overnight to tackle a blaze at a recycling plant in Birmingham that began on Tuesday afternoon.

- There's uncertainty over the future of hundreds of jobs across the West Midlands as Tata Steel plans to sell its loss-making UK business

One-minute silence to be held for Sandwell Council leader at 11am

A one-minute silence is to be held in memory of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper at 11:00.

The council says staff will be gathering in Oldbury Civic Square this morning. Afterwards, a book of condolence will open at Sandwell Council House and also Smethwick Library.

The 52-year-old died suddenly on Saturday.

Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper
Sandwell Council

We just want to thank everyone for their kind words following the sad death of Councillor Darren Cooper over the weekend. Your wonderful tributes and comments mean a lot to us all at this very sad time.

Sandwell Council

1,000 patients forced to wait 12 hours at Walsall Manor Hospital

Express and Star

More than 1,000 people had to wait over 12 hours to be seen at Walsall Manor Hospital’s A&E department last year, new figures have revealed.

Walsall Manor Hospital
Express and Star

M6 southbound delays at Wednesbury

BBC Travel

One lane closed on the M6 southbound between J9, A461 (Wednesbury) and J8 M5, because of an accident. 

Drivers are warned to expect delays.

View more on twitter

Man jailed for killing friend with punch

A man has been jailed for three years after killing a friend who asked to be punched in the face, police said.

Patrick Ryan (pictured left), 25, hit Phillip Evans (pictured right) while they were were drinking on 11 October, after Mr Evans claimed he had "never been knocked out before".

The 42-year-old could not be revived, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Patrick Ryan and Phillip Evans
West Midlands Police

Firefighters remain at scrapyard blaze after working through the night

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Firefighters will remain at a scrap metal yard in Birmingham for the next few days to deal with the aftermath of yesterday's "severe" blaze.

The emergency services say they received more than 100 calls alerting them to the site in Saltley as plumes of thick black smoke were spotted across the city.

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Huge recycling yard fire breaks out in Birmingham

People in the area were advised to keep their doors and windows closed after about 800 tonnes of metal and mixed plastic caught fire.

Crews have been working throughout the night to bring it under control.

Weather: A chilly start but a chance of light showers later

Kaye Forster

Weather Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

A frosty start for some this morning, followed by a day of sunshine and occasional showers. 

The showers may turn heavy in places, with the risk of thunder and hail too with highs of 12C (54F).

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Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Road closure in Saltley after scrapyard blaze

BBC Travel

- Landor Street in Saltley is closed in both directions around the Arden Road junction, because of yesterday's scrapyard fire

- There's heavy traffic on the A449 in both directions in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton between the M54 J2 junction and the Bee Lane junction 

For the latest disruptions visit BBC Travel.

Remi Garde leaves Aston Villa

Aston Villa has parted company with manager Remi Garde by mutual consent. 

The 49-year-old Frenchman had been in charge of the Premier League's bottom club for only four months. 

He was appointed in November, but has been unable to prevent the slide towards relegation.

Remi Garde
Getty Images

Good morning: Live updates for Birmingham and the Black Country

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

I'm in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

If you'd like to get in touch about any of the updates we're featuring, email, tweet @BBCWM or get in touch via Facebook