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vital statistics

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43 per cent of fires are started by accident and could have been avoided, says a survey by Essex County Fire & Rescue Service. 74 per cent of employees did not know where their nearest fire extinguisher was or how it worked.

An average of 16,000ha of new woods are planted in Britain each year, says the Forestry Industry Council of Great Britain. Last year the uk used 48,300,000m3 of timber. 66 per cent of forests are privately owned.

Britons drive half as many miles again each year as they did 20 years ago, says a detr report, Focus on Personal Travel. We each travel an average of 6666 miles every year; 9 per cent of journeys are by public transport; a quarter of car journeys are less than two miles; 71 per cent of people drive to work; 87 per cent of households are six minutes' walk from a bus stop.

A 60 per cent rise in prospective major building projects (£30 million or more) in the last 18 months has been reported by cost manager Gardiner & Theobald. It has predicted inflation rises for 1999 will be down 0.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent nationally, and from 6 to 5.5 per cent in London.

People spend on average £55.15 a week on food and £41.20 on motoring. Dorling Kindersley also says household goods clock up £26.74 and alcohol £12.41.

Three million children a year have headlice, double the number of 20 years ago. £8 million of treatments are sold each year.

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