Figures obtained by the BBC show that more than half of local authorities in the north west of England are considering selling off public parks to raise money, or finding other organisations to maintain them. It comes as a report by the Association for Public Service Excellence shows that eighty five per cent of councils across the UK are reducing what they spend on parks and open spaces. We report from a park in Prescot on Merseyside where the local authority could raise £5 million from the sale of a patch of land to a housing developer. Some local residents complain that once the land is sold, it can never be recovered for public use and the authority will be "selling off the family silver".
Next month, the Vehicle Excise Duty, or road tax, charged on new diesel cars will rise. For bigger cars, it could increase the price by up to £500. Smaller diesels will see a more modest increase. The changes are aimed at encouraging sales of less polluting cars, but some motorists complain that the government has changed its mind on diesels, having once recommended them as a greener and more economical option. We explore how the tax changes will affect drivers and why the government has changed its position.
Voters go to the polls in Amsterdam today and tourism is the issue that everyone is talking about. The Dutch capital is one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, but the number of visitors has risen from 11 million in 2005 to 18 million last year. The local population stands at 850,000. To curb the worst effects of tourism, the city authorities are introducing some tough measures, aimed at making the city less of a magnet to visitors.
Producer: Jonathan Hallewell
Presenter: Winifred Robinson. Show less