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Midlands Weather: Feeling Fresh...

As high pressure moves away and low pressure moves in, a cold front will cross the UK. This will bing a fresher feel to our weather.

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Passport workers strike over ongoing backlog crisis

Thousands of passport workers are striking today as the Summer holidays get underway.
Thousands of passport workers are striking today as the Summer holidays get underway. Credit: Edward Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

Thousands of passport workers are striking today as the Summer holidays get underway.

They have taken the action in a bid to end staffing shortages which have caused an ongoing backlog crisis, with holiday-goers left waiting for their renewed passports.

It could affect holiday plans for families across the Midlands.

A new recruitment drive is underway but many of the posts being advertised are not permanent jobs and are only likely to replace 8% of staff needed. The Passport Office has cut hundreds of staff since 2010 but the agency only agreed to meet the union to seriously discuss jobs after recent media and political scrutiny.

– Public and Commercial Services union

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Delays warning as big summer getaway begins

Drivers are being warned of a busy time on the roads as the summer getaway begins.

Heavy traffic is expected as thousands hit the roads for the summer getaway
Heavy traffic is expected as thousands hit the roads for the summer getaway Credit: PA

The roads are expected to be up to 25 per cent busier than normal on Saturdays throughout the summer, with the M6 between Coventry and Wolverhampton, the M1 through Leicestershire and the A52 through Derbyshire expected to be particularly congested.

Drivers are urged to leave early to allow for delays.

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Revealed: The top 10 worst excuses for stopping on the hard shoulder

The Highways Agency has revealed its top 10 worst excuses for parking up on the hard shoulder.

  • One motorist pulled over because they saw fire” on their dashboard display, it later turned out it was the name of the Adele track they were listening to.
  • One motorist parked up and fell asleep on the M6.
  • People stopping to read a map or check their sat navs.
  • Two car owners halfway through the selling and buying process for one of the cars.
  • One driver realised their car insurance policy was up for renewal – they were ringing around for quotes to renew.
  • A group of motorcyclists parked on the hard shoulder on the M1 to review their route and have a drink.
  • Taxi drivers waiting on the hard shoulder around airports for their client's flights to arrive.
  • A mobile phone operator, stopping at regular intervals in their private car carrying out signal tests on the hard shoulder.
  • A driver who stopped to pick flowers.
  • A couple who wanted to take pictures of their new born grandchild in their open top sports car, as it was "a lovely day".

It comes as figures revealed more than 400 drivers in the West Midlands had broken the by stopping in the restricted lane, despite there not being an emergency.

Hundreds of drivers stopping illegally on hard shoulder

Salesmen trading cars, people picking flowers, and stopping to take a pretty picture are among just some of the excuses used by drivers for stopping illegally on motorway hard shoulders in the West Midlands.

Official records show hundreds of people across the region stopped on the hard shoulder when there was no emergency in just three months last year.

It is illegal to stop on the hard shoulder unless there is an emergency or if it is opened as part of a 'managed motorways' scheme
It is illegal to stop on the hard shoulder unless there is an emergency or if it is opened as part of a 'managed motorways' scheme Credit: PA

One man even told officers from the Highways Agency that he thought the word 'Fire' flashing up on his dashboard meant his car was ablaze - apparently not realising that was the name of the Adele hit he was listening to.

A total of 418 drivers in the West Midlands broke the law between July and September last year - and motorway police are now urging people to make sure they use the hard shoulder properly.

It is illegal to stop on the hard shoulder unless there is an emergency or if it is opened as part of a 'managed motorways' scheme.

AMAZING VIDEO: Lightning striking BT tower and storm pictures

Viewers have been sending in their photos of this weekends wild weather.

A combination of sunny spells and severe storms made up the conditions across the Midlands.

The BT Tower in Birmingham was hit by lightning and a petrol station roof collapsed in Leicestershire following the torrential weather.

Here are just a few of the moments you captured on camera...

Four Oaks
Four Oaks Credit: Rachel Slater
Petrol station roof collapses on two cars in Leicestershire
Petrol station roof collapses on two cars in Leicestershire Credit: Caters news agency
Taken in the early hours in Leicester
Taken in the early hours in Leicester Credit: Brendan harris
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