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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50080240
  • Date: 15 December 2009
  • Public Authority: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
  • Summary: The complainant requested copies of correspondence exchanged between The Prince of Wales and government ministers at the public authority over a seven month period. The complainant also requested a list and schedule of this correspondence. The public authority initially relied solely on Regulation 12(5)(f) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (‘the EIR’) to refuse to the complainant’s request, and, having concluded its internal review of its handling of the request, determined that those parts of the requested information falling within the definition of environmental information should be withheld in reliance of Regulation 12(5)(f), and that, in relation to non-environmental information it could neither confirm or deny whether it held this, in reliance of section 37(2) of the Act. During the course of the Commissioner’s investigation the public authority confirmed to the complainant that it held correspondence falling within the scope of his request but it considered the information to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the provisions of Regulations 12(5)(e) and 12(5)(f). The public authority confirmed that it did not hold a list or schedule of correspondence and that, although accepting it could create one, it believed that such a list or schedule would be exempt from disclosure under the provisions of the Act. The Commissioner has concluded that all of the correspondence is environmental information and thus should be considered under the EIR rather than the Act. The Commissioner has concluded that the correspondence is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Regulations 12(5)(f) or 13(1). The Commissioner has also concluded that a list and/or schedule of correspondence sent by The Prince of Wales, if it was to be created, would be exempt on the basis of the same exceptions or the exemptions within the Act cited by the public authority. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]