RE: Copies of Emails under FOI
by Ibrahim - written 18/01/2011 10:09:31
You can certainly ask for the e mails. Because it is a planning issue it is a request under the Environmental Information Regulations and not FOI. There are various exceptions to disclosure under EIR including internal correspondence and personal information. All require consideration of the public interest in disclosure. I would go ahead and make the request and let the council decide on which exceptions apply, if at all. In any event I doubt that an email address on its own could be withold on the basis that it may be personal data.
Hope this helps.
Michael Williams wrote (02/01/2011 22:25:07):
Hi Ibrahim and thanks for this opportunity to draw on your expertise.
Basically, I am involved in a local regeneration project and a local commercial / industrial business has been granted planning permission. Despite various objections, permission has been granted and having been CC'd into copies of the emails between the business and the local planning dept, I am really disillusioned with the process (planning officer saying "Alright Dave" to the local business owner etc). It just appears very unprofessional to me and I'm unhappy with the whole process.
I am looking to approach my local authority to request copies of correspondence (both paper and electronic) between the business and the planning dept but I am wondering if this would be exempt under Sec. 40 FOI given that it may contain personal information (such as the email address of the business). My main reason for this request is just to review whether the local planning officer has remained professional and impartial in his dealings with this matter.
Many thanks and all the best for 2011
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