FOI Disclosure Stories 22 – 28 June 2009

Top secret plans revealed – The Times 26/06/09
“Britain considered dropping millions of poisoned darts on German troops in the final stages of the Second World War, secret files made public have revealed. Created by British and Canadian scientists, the darts could have been packed into bombs and released from the air with the potential to kill or incapacitate anyone within 10,000 sq yds. Documents released by the National Archives under the Freedom of Information Act include letters and notes collected over four years that demonstrate how close the Government came to deploying the deadly darts.”

CBT: Roads programme as much as £3.9bn over budget
– 25/06/09
“The Highways Agency’s road building programme is ‘significantly over budget’, with three quarters of the roads completed in the past year more expensive than expected. According to Government figures obtained under Freedom of Information by the Campaign for Better Transport, the agency’s programme – including all roads finished in the past 12 months, those under construction, and those in the planning stages – could be as much as £3.9 billion over budget.”

Top BBC bosses’ expenses revealed – BBC 25/06/09
“BBC director general Mark Thompson claimed more than £2,000 when he cut short his holiday to deal with the row over the Ross/Brand lewd calls in 2008. The figure was one of a number of details to emerge after the expenses of some top BBC executives were published. The corporation revealed the figures in response to Freedom of Information requests and pressure for more clarity. The expenses and salaries of the BBC’s 50 top-earning managers were also revealed on the website on Thursday.”

Taser mania! Police zap sheep, bulls, dogs … even themselves
– The Daily Mail 23/05/09
“Blundering police have turned their Tasers on stray dogs, runaway sheep and even accidentally on themselves, it was revealed yesterday. Figures released under freedom of information laws highlight a catalogue of errors by officers armed with the 50,000-volt stun guns. In the most serious case, a firearms officer shot a frail 89-yearold man after he threatened to kill himself.”


Oil depots fail blaze safety checks – The Scotsman 28/06/09
“Serious failings in safety measures meant to reduce the risk of major explosions at Scotland’s fuel oil depots have been uncovered by government inspectors. Inspectors from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) discovered that none of the nation’s nine oil depots ‘fully complied with safety recommendations made after the catastrophic explosion and fire at the Buncefield fuel depot in Hertfordshire in 2005. The inspection reports, obtained under Freedom of Information rules by Scotland on Sunday, reveal that inadequate safety measures at several depots mean there is a ‘high’ risk of a major environmental accident if a leak occurs.”

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