From FOIwiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50148602
  • Date: 1 April 2009
  • Public Authority: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
  • Summary: The complainant requested from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) the advice upon which the Minister for Local Government, Marine and Animal Welfare had made a decision relating to a limited decommissioning scheme for fishing vessels. DEFRA refused the request citing section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act'). During the course of the Commissioner’s investigation DEFRA disclosed most of the requested information but continued to withhold some information by virtue of section 35 or, to the extent that the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) applied, the exception in regulation 12(4)(e). It later introduced the exceptions in regulations 12(5)(a) and 13. The Commissioner concluded that the withheld information constitutes environmental information and that DEFRA should therefore have dealt with the request under the EIR. In failing to address the request under the EIR regime and thereby failing to specify the relevant exceptions, DEFRA breached regulation 14(3) of the EIR. In addition, it breached regulation 7(1) in exceeding the allowable extension period of 40 working days. Finally, since the Commissioner has concluded that some of the withheld information was not exempt under regulations 12(4)(e) and 12(5)(a), DEFRA therefore breached regulation 5(1) in failing to disclose this information, and regulation 5(2) by failing to provide it within the statutory time limit. The Commissioner decided that some of the requested information was properly withheld by reference to regulation 12(4)(e). This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]