IT looks as if us Brits are driving faster in our cars.

The Daily Express reports that speeding fines have risen to their highest level in four years.

More than 115,000 drivers in England and Wales have received fines of £100 or more by magistrates last year – the highest level since 2009 - netting the Treasury more than £45million.

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One of the most revered birds in the British countryside is under threat, claims an article in the Daily Telegraph.

There has been a dramatic drop in the number of nightingales in recent years and now Lodge Hill, in Medway, Kent, regarded as one of the best sites in the UK for protecting the bird is under threat of destruction.

A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: “Lodge Hill is the only Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the UK that is specifically set up to protect nightingales.

“It is the most important site for the birds in the UK. Yet the local council want to build 5,000 homes there. It would absolutely destroy the site and the birds’ homes – and send a very worrying signal about the prospects of protecting other critically important sites in the UK.”

Ornithologists claim the nightingale has suffered a 90 per cent drop in numbers over the past 40 years.

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If you don't like creepy-crawlies, then you might be best advised to steer clear of the UK.

According to the Daily Star, 2014 will go down as the hottest 12 months on record in Britain and will lead to a big increase in the number of biting insects such as mosquitoes.

National Trust Wildlife specialist Matthew Oates said: “The warm, moist weather has meant we didn’t get sufficient hot, dry spells to knock insects back badly.”

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It is one thing being charitable.... a Daily Mirror story relates that when an elderly man in Topsham, Devon, donated his boots to the Hospiscare charity he accidently left £980 inside them! Apparently the man had intended to give the money to his family for Christmas.

Hospiscare boss Jackie Hulin managed to trace the man and return the money. She said: “He was so grateful to get it back that he gave Hospiscare £100.”

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Actress Michelle Brown got a hell of a surprise at the end of the pantomime show she was appearing in at The Albert Halls, in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

The Daily Mirror says that Michelle, who was playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, was astounded to see her boyfriend Rich Colledge walk on stage, go down on one knee and propose to her.

Michelle said: “It was a total shock. Everyone knew about it apart from me - I couldn't believe it when he came on stage. I had no idea at all so it was a lovely surprise.”

Rich added: “It was nerve wracking though. I was taking a lot of deep breaths before I went on stage. I just concentrated on looking at Michelle rather than thinking of all the eyes watching me - and thankfully she said yes.”

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On the face of it, it looks like a joke but The Independent tells us that a group of students from the University of Southampton want to land lettuce on Mars!

They are asking for votes from the public to allow the scheme to go ahead – the aim is for the lettuce to take taken by a lander sent to the planet in 2018 by Mars One, the not-for-profit organisation that plans to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2026 as part of a mission that will be funded by a reality TV show.

Project leader Suzanna Lucarotti said: “To live on other planets we need to grow food there. No-one has ever actually done this and we intend to be the first. This plan is both technically feasible and incredibly ambitious in its scope, for we will be bringing the first complex life to another planet.”

When the seeds arrive on Mars, they will be grown in an aluminium and polycarbonate greenhouse, in an area that could be where humans eventually settle when they arrive on the planet.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Star (www.daily star.co.uk)

Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph co.uk)