EMERGENCY plans to cope with a meteor shower hitting a Sussex town are among some of the bizarre topics councils have been quizzed on by residents.
A top ten list of unusual Freedom of Information requests submitted to councils, compiled by the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals the weird and wacky enquiries landing on the desk of town hall officials.
One such question, made to Worthing Borough Council, was: “What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields?”
Other demands included a request to know what was being done to protect Wigan from dragon attack and how many people in Scarborough have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet.
Councils are also having to answer requests for information readily available on council websites, such as for staff telephone numbers.
Worthing council’s response was: “Worthing Borough Council has an emergency plan which is employed in fire and bomb procedures and evacuation.”
A spokeswoman said: “It was certainly one of the more unusual FoI requests we have had and which we answered to the best of our ability.”
Chairman of the LGA improvement board, Peter Fleming, said: “A rising number of Freedom of Information requests are sent to local authorities across the country every day and councils put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that legitimate requests for information are met with full and comprehensive responses.
“Local authorities are the most transparent part of the public sector.
“People only need to log on to their council website right now to see more information on where their council spends money than has ever been published before.
“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.”