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The Day in FoIA: Passenger numbers ‘blow apart’ case for HS2 train line | Climate Sceptics use FoIA to undermine climate scientists

Passenger numbers ‘blow apart’ case for HS2 train line

Ministers say the controversial £34 billion train line from London to Birmingham and Manchester is “desperately needed” to tackle a “capacity crisis” and “time bomb” on the existing route to these cities, the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

They claim that passenger numbers on the WCML are growing so fast that it will soon be “full” unless action is taken.

In fact, however, the Government’s own official passenger counts show that almost half the seats on the line’s peak-time trains last year were empty.

They also show that peak-hour crowding on the line has actually fallen in the last three years.

Ministers fought for months against releasing the figures, refusing numerous freedom of information requests for them on the grounds that they were “commercially confidential”. Read more.

Andrew Gilligan | The Telegraph | 9th December 2012

Freedom of Information Laws Used By Climate Sceptics To Rifle Through Scientists’ Daily Emails

FREEDOM of Information laws across the world were introduced as a way to open governments and their agencies to public and journalistic scrutiny and to extract the kind of information that tends not to make its way into press releases and government pamphlets.

But seen through the eyes of some climate change scientists, it is a law which appears to have been hijacked by climate science sceptics and free market think tanks as a means to rifle through their inboxes in search of anything which, when taken out of context, might be used to make them look bad.

In the US, Penn State University climate scientist Professor Michael Mann – he of the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph recently fought off a long running attempt by the climate science denial think tank the American Tradition Institute to gain access to his emails. Read more.

Graham Readfearn | De Smog Blog | 6th December 2012

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