Asteroids In Worthing And Dragons In Wigan: The Top 10 Most Ridiculous FOI Requests Sent To Local Councils

16/08/2014 16:40 | Updated 16 August 2014

Highlighting that perhaps everyone needs to calm down and stop getting so emotionally attached to Game Of Thrones, local councils have complained that they are being bombarded with demands for information on what emergency measures are in place to protect us all from dragons, asteroids and even demon-possessed house cats.

The Local Government Association has published its top ten bizarre requests sent to councils under the Freedom of Information (FoI) requests legislation and said that councils have spent £31.7 million trying to answer citizens’ queries - from the basic to the bizarre.

Ranging from rather dull enquiries about policy and planning, to the more unusual about exorcisms and unclaimed bodies in morgues, here are some of the most ludicrous requests local councils have received.

  • 1 Wigan Council
    What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack?
  • 2 Cambridge City Council
    Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal?
  • 3 Rossendale Council
    How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building?
  • 4 Leicestershire County Council
    Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries?
  • 5 Worthing Borough Council
    What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite lands in Worthing or solar activity disrupts electromagnetic fields?
  • 6 Rossendale Council
    How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years?
  • 7 Richmond Council
    How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for ten years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people?
  • 8 Scarborough Council
    How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet?
  • 9 Birmingham Council
    How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of "ghost investigators" into the building?
  • 10 Southend Council
    How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped?

The Local Government Association also complained that firms were "exploiting the system" by trying to find out information on existing suppliers to help them bid for public contracts.

Peter Fleming, chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said: "While the majority of requests to councils are for details of council policy and expenditure, some of the FOI requests received do not relate very closely to the services they are focused on providing every day of the year.

"Councils are working very hard to keep local communities running as efficiently as possible during these challenging financial times and anything which distracts from that can affect the value for money that taxpayers receive."

Public bodies can refuse an FOI request if it is considered to be vexatious, would cost too much to comply with, or if the information is exempt from disclosure.

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