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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FER0089559
  • Date: 17 March 2008
  • Public Authority: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
  • Summary: The complainant requested information from Defra in connection with the proposals for a South Downs National Park. Defra provided part of the information sought, but withheld much of the remaining information on the basis that the request involved the disclosure of internal communications and that the exception in regulation 12(4)(e) of the EIR applied. Defra considered that the remainder of the information should be withheld, on the basis that it was protected by legal professional privilege and the exception in regulation 12(5)(b) was applicable. In the light of the timing of the complainant’s information request in relation to the National Park designation process the Commissioner found that Defra was entitled to rely on the exceptions in regulation 12(4)(e) and 12 (5)(b). The Commissioner nevertheless found that there was a small amount of information in relation to which the public interest in maintaining the exception in regulation 12(4)(e) was outweighed by the public interest in disclosure at the time of the information request, and that this should now be released. The Commissioner also found that Defra had acted in breach of regulations 14(2) and (3) of the EIR.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]