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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50176219
  • Date: 23 December 2009
  • Public Authority: Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Summary: The complainant requested a copy of a council report into the conduct of its staff together with reports and legal advice on whether the council had been negligent in failing to impose a tree preservation order. The council refused disclosure of the information under the Act but during the Commissioner’s investigation it was withheld via the EIR. Several elements of the complaint were resolved during the course of the Commissioner’s enquiries and the investigation ultimately concerned the council’s refusal to disclose its originating letter to a planning adviser and his report in response. These items were withheld via regulations 12(4)(e) and 12(5)(b). The Commissioner found that the council had incorrectly applied the exceptions at 12(4)(e) and 12(5)(b) and had failed to comply with regulations 5(1), 5(2), 14(2), 14(3)(a) and 14(3)(b) of the EIR. The Commissioner determined that the exception at regulation 13(2)(a)(i) applied to the planning adviser’s report and ordered that the originating letter be disclosed.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]