The Spectator

Barometer | 1 February 2018

Also in Barometer: the animals most used for testing in Britain and how pollution has changed

Text settings
Comments

Tight money

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, was worth an estimated £40 billion. Yet the eighth richest man in the world drove an old Volvo, flew economy class, bought his clothes in flea markets and had his wife cut his hair to avoid the cost of a barber. Some other wealthy tight-fists:

— The oil entrepreneur J. Paul Getty, worth $6 billion when he died in 1976, famously installed a payphone for guests at Sutton Place, his home in Surrey.

— Wall Street financier Hetty Green was worth $200 million when she died in 1951. It would have been a little less had she not lived in a small apartment, used charity health clinics (leading, it was said, to the amputation of her son’s leg) and only washing the hems of her dresses to save on soap. She once stayed up much of the night searching for a lost two cents stamp.

Of mice and monkeys

It emerged that a defunct research body, EUGT, had tested diesel exhaust fumes on monkeys and humans. UK animal experiments used which species in 2014?

Mice

2,900,000

Fish

419,000

Rats

254,000

Birds

139,000

Ungulates (hoofed mammals)

61,000

Other rodents

33,000

Reptiles/amphibians

17,000

Rabbits

14,000

Non-human primates

3,000

Source: House of Commons Library

Tube tumult

Passengers on the Central Line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green were found to be exposed to 109 decibels of noise: louder than a helicopter taking off. How does it compare with other noises?

Chainsaw

110 dB

Rock concert

110 dB

Siren

115 dB

Birds

120 dB

Bursting balloon

125 dB

Very loud football crowd

130 dB

Jet engine

140 dB

Burning issue

The government was said to be considering a ban on coal as a domestic fuel along with restrictions on wood-burning. How have polluting emissions changed since 1970?

Sulphur dioxide

- 96%

Particulate matter (soot)

- 73%

Nitrogen oxides

- 69%

Non-methane volatile

organic compounds

- 66%

Ammonia (since 1980)

- 9.9%

Source: Defra