The gas and electricity supplier npower yesterday became the first power company to announce three price rises in less than a year. The company said it was increasing gas bills by 17.2% and electricity prices by 9.9% for its six million domestic customers.
Npower did not increase its prices in 2005, but now, in less than nine months, it has raised gas prices by 46%. The latest increase will affect bills on October 1.Until now the power firms have usually limited themselves to two increases a year. It is feared that yesterday's move will lead to more increases from rivals. - Guardian
A crusading constable has taken it upon himself to clean up his patch by tracking down flytippers and dumping the rubbish back on their doorstep. PC Dave England launched his fightback after a beauty spot in Dorset was blighted by sacks of dumped rubbish. Local people noted down the number plates of the flytippers and passed them on to the officer, who traced their addresses - and returned the rubbish to them.- Guardian
Rather than marking the demise of civilisation, severe climate change was the primary ingredient of its successful birth, according to a theory outlined yesterday.Nick Brooks, of the University of East Anglia, told the British Association Festival of Science in Norwich that, without dramatic changes in the climate thousands of years ago, we might have remained farmers, herders and hunter gatherers. - Telegraph
The water regulator dealt a blow to the forthcoming sale of Thames Water yesterday by announcing plans to strengthen the ring- fencing of the company to prevent any future owner removing cash or assets from its regulated business. The so-called 'cash lock-up' arrangement is similar to that already included in the licences of energy companies and is designed to ensure Thames has sufficient resources to conduct its job properly and safeguard consumer interests. Ofwat said the new licence condition would be triggered if Thames' investment grade rating was threatened in any way. - Independent
Walking has taken another backwards step with the publication of official statistics showing that Britons are making far fewer journeys by foot than a generation ago. Despite official advertising campaigns urging people to stride out for their health, the Government's annual transport survey showed that walking was declining. While the average person walked 255 miles in 1975 when Harold Wilson was prime minister, that figure fell to 197 miles under Tony Blair last year, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport released yesterday. - Independent
TWO OF Britain's leading architects presented their plans yesterday to remake the New York skyline with crystalline skyscrapers rising on the site of the World Trade Centre. Lord Foster of Thames Bank will plant diamonds in the sky above Manhattan with a sloping roof, divided into four, atop his 78-storey office tower at Ground Zero. Lord Rogers of Riverside picked up the motif with diamond-shaped structural braces running up the side of his adjacent 71-storey tower, across the street from the planned World Trade Centre memorial garden. - Times
THE BP executive formerly in charge of monitoring the corrosion of oil pipelines in Alaska invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution yesterday and refused to answer questions from politicians investigating a spate of oil leaks in Prudhoe Bay. Several BP executives appeared before the House Energy and Commerce sub-committee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday to answer questions about the company's apparent negligence that led to a leak in March of more than 250,000 gallons of oil on to the Arctic tundra.A second leak on August 6 was smaller but caused a greater outcry and led to the partial shutdown of Prudhoe Bay's 400,000 barrel a day production capacity. - Times