FOI’s warn of risk to UK gas shipments
New documents obtained by a Greenpeace/Energydesk FOI request have revealed government concerns about the security of gas supplies to the UK.
The news comes as the boss of energy regulator Ofgem warned that gas supplies would be limited over the next decade and prices would rise.
The documents detail discussions between UK and Qatari government officials over security concerns, some of them taking place aboard a UK warship, HMS Duke, in 2011. Concerns raised include:
With 96 tankers moving around the world 24/7 LNG presented a ‘major energy security issue’.
They had been ‘lucky’ so far due to tanker speed but measures now being implemented included ‘citadels’ on tankers and the use of barbed wire.
There was discussion of ‘on board security teams’ with the concern raised that this may lead to an ‘arms race on the high seas’. Read more.
Damien Kahya & Lawrence Carter | Greenpeace | 19th February 2013
Michael Gove in clash over free schools freedom of information requests.
The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, and Michael Gove have clashed over the public’s right to know the names, places and religious affiliation, if any, of all the groups who have applied to join the government’s controversial free schools programme.
The education secretary appeared to suggest that Graham was effectively helping opponents of the taxpayer-funded schools, which are independent of local authorities, to intimidate applicants – prompting Graham to retort that the arguments of Gove’s department in resisting public disclosure “clearly failed to convince”.
The steely exchange came as Gove reluctantly released details of 517 applications made for the first three waves of free schools after losing a tribunal ruling last month. Announcing he would no longer challenge the commissioner’s decision, Gove claimed parents and teachers trying to join the government’s programme had been vilified by opponents and even lost their jobs, even without full details of applications. Read more.
James Meikle | The Guardian | 20th February 2013
Two-job bobbies: Police force reveals 223 officers are moonlighting including as magicians and DJs
Police officers moonlighting as magicians, models and ski instructors have been rapped by their commissioner who told them they “don’t stop being police” when off-duty.
A freedom of information request found more than one in 10 officers in the force had second jobs, which also included voiceover work and selling honey.
Staffordshire Police admitted that 223 of its 1,900 officers did other work when not pounding the beat.
And although it is not illegal, local elected police commissioner Matthew Ellis has expressed concern that their additional roles might interfere with the police work they do.
Tory Mr Ellis said: “Officers serve their community. I would be concerned about anything that puts that at risk. Read more.
Luke Traynor | The Mirror | 21st February 2013