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Planning teams under threat as cuts dilute specialist work.

Planning teams under threat as cuts dilute specialist work.

Figures obtained [via the Freedom of Information Act] by the National Trust show widespread cuts to planning teams at a time of increased workload

Britain’s planners are under more pressure than ever before. Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), planning teams are changing the way they work to help local communities play a greater role in the planning process. Meanwhile, the rush is on to draw up local plans before the end of a government-imposed “transition period” to implement the NPPF.

More is required of planners at exactly the time when there are fewer skilled staff available to take on the burden of work. Figures gathered by the National Trust under the Freedom of Information Act show that the number of planners working in local authorities has dropped as councils strive to cut costs.

Almost half (47%) of 227 councils surveyed in late 2011 had suffered a cut in the number of planning staff since 2008, with only 7% seeing more staff employed to deal with the extra work. More than a third (37%) have also had their overall budget for planning activities reduced.

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Hannah Fearn | The Guardian | 10th May 2012

Pirate stomping by Google et Cie won’t work, says expert

Plans developed by search engines that would define how rights-holders engage with them over the removal of links to copyright infringing content seek to introduce new thresholds over notice and takedown standards that EU law does not require, an expert has said.

Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have drawn up a series of “principles” to guide how rights-holders should act when issuing them with requests for the removal of infringing content from search indexes as well as the responsibilities to which search engines themselves should be required to conform.

The plans were published (4-page/43KB PDF) by digital rights campaign group the Open Rights Group (ORG) who obtained details of the proposals via a freedom of information (FOI) request to the government.

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The Register | 10th May 2011

Results of Post-conviction DNA testing to be released.  

Reports on 78 convicted people whose DNA was excluded in Virginia’s post-conviction testing project — and whose identities have largely been kept secret by the state — will be released under the Freedom of Information Act after July 1.

An amendment in the state budget, passed by the General Assembly last month, directs the release of the reports unless prosecutors deem them critical to a current investigation.

Gail Jaspen, chief deputy director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, told the Board of Forensic Science on Wednesday that the amendment appears to have been a response to FOIA requests for the information from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

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Frank Green | Richmond Times Dispatch | 10th May 2012

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