You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 1/3/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 1/3/2024 – #FOIFriday

This week feels like a bit of roads and motorist Freedom of Information special.

Potholes, parking fines, speeding cameras are all classic FOI topics – and as potholes will appear every wet icy winter and drivers seem unlikely to learn to obey traffic rules, they’re likely to long continue to be a good starting point for requests.

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Mental health help

Half of the referrals to a trust’s children’s mental health services resulted in no treatment last year, according to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

Children were discharged after no more than one appointment in over 7,000 cases considered by the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust in 2023.

The trust said child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) often received referrals more suited to other services. Some parents told the BBC their children are not receiving the help they need.

Ankle tags

The number of children wearing ankle tags in Essex more than doubled in a year. Between March 31 2022 and the same date in 2023, the number of tagged young offenders aged 17 and under increased from 15 to 33.

The data was obtained from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) via a Freedom of Information request by BBC Essex.

Speeding fines

In the majority of speeding cases for 20mph, 30mph and 40mph zones, the drivers were roughly 57 years old, according to the data captured between 2018 and 2023 from a Freedom of Information Act relating to Avon and Somerset Police.

One of those slapped with a fine was 101-years-old.

More speeding fines

More than 17,000 drivers were caught speeding on a stretch of the M4 last year. Data obtained by BristolLive via a Freedom of Information request has revealed the motorway speed cameras in the Bristol region to have issued the most tickets.

The figures show the speed camera located on the M4’s eastbound carriageway between Junction 20 and 19 caught the highest number of drivers speeding in 2023, detecting 17,527 drivers. The camera located on the Severn Beach rail line overbridge on the southbound carriageway of the M32 came second, with 12,941 drivers caught.

Bus gates

More than 200 drivers were fined every day as a result of the Bristol Bridge closure last year. Enforcement of the bus gate started over three years ago – but many drivers are still getting caught.

Figures obtained by BristolLive via a Freedom of Information request show that 74,087 fines were issued as part of the scheme in 2023. This means that, on average, more than 6,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) are being handed out a month as a result of the scheme – more than 200 a day.

Uninsured drivers

A Freedom of Information request by iCompario revealed that in 2019, 15,227 UK drivers received an uninsured driver conviction, while this hit a staggering 51,857 last year – an increase of 251 per cent.

In Berkshire, hundreds of drivers are caught out each year, with 6,005 convictions since 2019. One in 161 drivers living in an RG postcode are uninsured and one in 100 are uninsured who are living in an SL postcode.

Night flights

Campaigners have accused Bristol Airport and airlines of ‘abusing the system’. They claim this is due to nearly 1,200 extra flights landing after the late-night curfew than the airport was allowed.

Information obtained through a Freedom of Information request shows that Bristol Airport has more than double the number of extra flights breaking the curfew compared to Heathrow and Gatwick. This has led campaigners to question both the council chiefs and the airport.

Bristol Airport has a limit set by North Somerset Council on the number of flights that can take off or land between 11. 30pm and 6am. The airport is only allowed 4,000 of these flights, split between 1,000 in winter and 3,000 in summer.

Missing medals

A lot of councils run museums and galleries chronicling local history and culture, and after the scandal of missing items from the British Museum, it may be worth asking if they have any lost exhibits of their own.

Two Victoria Cross medals awarded to men for their role during wars from more than 120 years ago are among several items missing from museums across Essex. The revelations come following a freedom of information request by EssexLive to Chelmsford City Council.

Picture by Pixabay on Pexels

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