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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FER0148337
  • Date: 4 February 2008
  • Public Authority: Verderers of the New Forest
  • Summary: The complainant requested the Verderers of the New Forest to release a schedule of the individual payments made to elected verderers participating in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and a copy of legal advice it obtained from its lawyer concerning this activity and its compliance with the New Forest Act 1877. The Verderers considered the request and refused to disclose the requested information citing sections 40 and 42 of the Act. The complainant remained dissatisfied and approached the Commissioner. After considering the case and the information being withheld, the Commissioner decided that the requested information was environmental information and therefore the complainant’s request should have been dealt with under the EIR. The Verderers reconsidered the request under the EIR and claimed that exception 12(5)(b) and regulation 13 applied to the requested information. The Commissioner considered the arguments presented by both parties. In respect of the legal advice requested, the Commissioner concluded that the Verderers were correct to rely on exception 12(5)(b) and that the public interest favoured maintaining this exception. However, in respect of the individual payments made to elected verderers, the Commissioner concluded that there would be no unfairness to those verderers if the information was released and that disclosure would not contravene the Data Protection Act. The Commissioner has therefore ordered the Verderers to release this information to the complainant within 35 days of this Notice. Information Tribunal appeal (EA/2008/0014) has been withdrawn.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]