Five mind-blowing facts about what the UK looks like

  • 9 November 2017
  • From the section UK
Continuous urban fabric

For the past few decades, satellites have been taking high definition pictures of the United Kingdom from space. The images are analysed and compared to detailed maps.

Every small area is then given one of dozens of different classifications - from airports to vineyards, glaciers to rubbish dumps.

The work is part of an EU project keeping an eye on changing land use. Is urban sprawl eating into our precious green landscape? Are forests being felled? Are grasslands and wetlands under threat?

Now, using this data treasure trove, we can get a clearer picture of what every corner of the United Kingdom really looks like.

And the results may come as a surprise.

Read full article Five mind-blowing facts about what the UK looks like

How much of your area is built on?

  • 9 November 2017
  • From the section UK

For the first time, you can find out at the click of button exactly how the land is used in your local authority area.

If you can't see the area search, click or tap here.

Read full article How much of your area is built on?

Are UK drug consumption rooms likely?

  • 12 October 2017
  • From the section UK
A hand holding drugs Image copyright Getty Images

How close is Britain to creating places where all drugs are legal?

What does the Home Office really think about drug consumption rooms - safe and supervised places where addicts can inject or inhale illicit substances without fear of prosecution?

Read full article Are UK drug consumption rooms likely?

The government nudges itself over race

  • 10 October 2017
  • From the section UK
Prime Minister Theresa May talks to primary pupils during a visit to the Dunraven School in Streatham, south London, ahead of the publication of details of the Government's Race Disparity Audit Image copyright PA
Image caption Theresa May has pledged to tackle social and racial injustice in the UK

It is fitting, perhaps, that the launch of the government's so-called "race disparities audit" comes the day after American economist Richard Thaler was awarded a Nobel prize for his work on behavioural economics and nudging, because that is what this project is about.

It is a giant nudge to change behaviour on issues of race inequality. The odd thing is that the project is not a government trying to nudge the people. It is a government trying to nudge itself.

Read full article The government nudges itself over race

How big game hunting is dividing southern Africa

  • 10 September 2017
  • From the section Africa
An elephant kicks up dust outside Kingspool Luxury Safari Camp in the Okanvango Delta on June 18, 2010 Image copyright Getty Images

Drifting down the Zambezi in Zimbabwe, I overheard two American men swapping hunting stories.

"First shot got him in the shoulder," a white man in his late sixties explained to his friend. "Second hit him right in the side of the head!" Pointing at his temple, he passed his phone with a picture. The animal in question was a dead crocodile.

Read full article How big game hunting is dividing southern Africa

Why don't many British tourists visit Victoria Falls?

  • 3 September 2017
  • From the section Africa
The statue of David Livingstone next to the Victoria Falls
Image caption The statue of David Livingstone next to the Victoria Falls has few British visitors

In August 1934, a memorial statue to one of Britain's greatest national heroes, David Livingstone, was unveiled alongside his beloved Victoria Falls.

A thousand people attended the grand ceremony, including British government dignitaries and hundreds of Africans, some of whom had travelled for days to honour him.

Read full article Why don't many British tourists visit Victoria Falls?

'Legal high' review after laughing gas cases collapse

  • 31 August 2017
  • From the section UK
Discarded nitrous oxide canisters at a festival Image copyright PA
Image caption Empty canisters of laughing gas are a common sight in fields after music festivals

The Home Office says it will continue to prosecute those who sell nitrous oxide, despite the collapse of the first contested cases under new laws.

The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing two cases after a judge and the government's own expert witness said "laughing gas" was exempt.

Read full article 'Legal high' review after laughing gas cases collapse

Grenfell Tower: A shadow over the capital

  • 13 July 2017
  • From the section UK
General view of the Grenfell Tower from Wood Lane station in west London. Photo taken 11 July Image copyright PA

Drive over London's Westway, and Grenfell Tower demands your attention. It is a black nail that has been hammered into the nation's conscience.

In its shadow, the faces of the missing are everywhere - on lamp-posts and bus shelters, railings and walls. Unblinking they stare, it is hard to hold their accusatory gaze.

Read full article Grenfell Tower: A shadow over the capital

Has British democracy let its people down?

  • 12 June 2017
  • From the section UK
Union flags and England flags flutter in foreground, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background Image copyright Getty Images

Parliamentary democracy is one of the British values that English schools are now required, by statute, to promote during lessons - not debate, not discuss, promote.

If some teachers interpret their new role as propagandists for this kingdom's existing system of governance, that would be a shame, because right now there are questions about how well our form of democracy is serving the UK.

Read full article Has British democracy let its people down?

Manchester bombing: An attack on innocence

  • 23 May 2017
  • From the section UK
Ariana Grande fans after the show Image copyright Getty Images

It was a deliberate attack on innocence and joy. Children buzzing with energy at the end of an exciting show by their favourite pop star, with music in their ears and smiles on their young faces.

That was the moment someone chose to indulge their own bitterness, their spite and their hate. With explosives and nails and unfathomable cruelty.

Read full article Manchester bombing: An attack on innocence