Five of Britain’s oldest motorists have racked up penalty points for driving offences in the past three years. Figures released by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency under the Freedom of Information Act showed that of those, one 100-year-old and three 99-year-olds were convicted of speeding offences. The fifth driver, also a centenarian, faced action for jumping a traffic light, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, was not surprised by the released information. He said: “They may have been just going too fast or just failed to notice the speed limit sign. It could be that they were speeding because they didn’t want to hold up other drivers behind them.”
In all there are 121 motorists over the age of 100 still holding driving licences. Apart from being obliged to renew their licence every three years after their 70th birthday, older drivers face no other restrictions.
Toilet problems for London 2012
Documents obtained from the Olympic Delivery Authority under the Freedom of Information Act show that Olympic Games test events were full of toilet problems, The Express reports. Plumbers were called out 32 times to two test events last summer. The toilet malfunctions are thought to be due to the new toilet designs, which were introduced in a bid to make the “Games green”.
The toilets have “water-saving dual flushes” which are more prone to blockages when used in large commercial environments. Questions are now being asked as to whether the 496 new toilet facilities in the main stadium will be able to withstand vast numbers of visitors expected at the main events later this year.
Energy firms like EDF Energy, npower and Centrica have been providing the government with employees to work on energy issues, free of charge, The Guardian reports.
Figures released after FoIA requests by Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, show that at least 50 employees have been placed in departments for secondments of up to two years.
Lucas said: “Companies such as the big six energy firms do not lend their staff to government for nothing: they expect a certain degree of influence, insider knowledge and preferential treatment in return. At such a pivotal time in the UK’s energy and climate change policy, as ministers must get to grips with the realities of climate change, rising costs and energy insecurity, the strong presence of vested interests is a real cause for concern.”
The disclosed data reveals that since it was first founded in 2008, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has hosted 36 people from business or consultancies, including EDF, Centrica, oil company ConocoPhillips, lobby group the UK Petroleum Industry Association and Energy Solutions, and a US nuclear waste treatment company.
The Guardian reports that staff from the energy business have also been appointed to positions in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The FoIA revelations also included the number of times Decc officials have been meeting with energy industry representatives. In total, Decc’s ministers met with energy companies and their lobby groups 195 times and just 17 with green campaign groups.
Oxford ‘scouts’ get less than the minimum wage
A Freedom of Information investigation by student journalists has revealed that while Oxford is one of the wealthiest universities in the world, many of its cleaning staff –also known as “scouts”- are paid less than £7.20 an hour. The Guardian reports that one of the worst offenders is St John’s, that pays its cleaners £6.49 an hour.
Reckless drivers are being let back on the street
The Western Mail reports that more than 58,000 motorists with multiple drink-driving convictions are being allowed to get back behind the wheel. The data released under the Freedom of Information Act show that one driver from Carmarthenshire is back driving after being disqualified over six times for driving above the limit.