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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FER0087031
  • Date: 26 July 2006
  • Public Authority: Network Rail
  • Summary: In March 2005 the complainant requested information from Network Rail under the Data Protection Act 1998 regarding flooding adjacent to a railway line. Network Rail refused the request under the Data Protection Act and did not treat it as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Network Rail also informed the Information Commissioner's Office that it was not required to respond to the complainant under the Act since it is a 'private company, not a public authority'. The Information Commissioner took the opportunity afforded by this and another case (FER0071801) to clarify the status of Network Rail as a public authority under both the EIR and the Act. With regard to the public administration functions and responsibilities of Network Rail, the Commissioner consider that Network Rail under section 3 of the Act and considers that it is not a public authority for the purpose of that Act. In this case, the information requested by the complainant fell within the definition of 'environmental information' under the EIR. The Commissioner's decision is therefore that Network Rail failed to comply with regulation 5(1) of the EIR in that it failed to make available to the complainant environmental information which it held, and also that it failed to comply with regulation 6(2) in that it did not explain to the complainant the reason for its decision not to supply the information. Network Rail must now respond to the complainant's request within the time limit specified in the decision notice. The Information Tribunal has ruled on this decision and has upheld this appeal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]