Environmental breaches

Mr Morgan made this Freedom of Information request to Carmarthenshire Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Carmarthenshire Council.

Dear Carmarthenshire Council,

I wish to make a request for information using the freedom of information laws.

1. Please supply (electronically) all warnings or cautions or prosecutions that carmarthenshire council have had from the environment agency in relation to tipping of waste breaches. For each breach/warning, caution or prosecution please supply all details such as the composition of the waste and the name of the site and the amount of waste and the action taken by the council. Please only supply information for the previous 2 years.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Morgan

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr. Morgan,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 7th
April, 2011 and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000. We are therefore required to provide you with a response within
20 working days, which will be on or before 11th May, 2011.

If we require any clarification or further details, we will contact you
as soon as possible - if this is the case, then the timescale for
response specified above may be subject to change.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to
contact me, remembering to quote the reference provided number above in
any communications.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Morgan,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 7th April, 2011. We initially informed you that your request was being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, having considered the nature of the information being requested, I find that the request does in fact fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) in that it concerns information about measures and activities which affect, or are likely to affect, elements of the environment. I have therefore dealt with your request under the provisions of the EIR.

The specific information you requested was as follows:

"Please supply (electronically) all warnings or cautions or prosecutions that carmarthenshire council have had from the
environment agency in relation to tipping of waste breaches. For each breach/warning, caution or prosecution please supply all details such as the composition of the waste and the name of the site and the amount of waste and the action taken by the council. Please only supply information for the previous 2 years."

In response, there have been no such prosecutions or cautions during the period covered by your request. However, we do hold one warning letter which is relevant and is attached. We do not hold any records regarding the composition or amount of waste deposited on the site in question. I am advised that this is because the site was used on a very limited, ad-hoc basis to tip small quantities of highway maintenance waste material. The site is obviously no longer used.

Please note, however, that I am witholding the name of the site. I will explain the reasons for this below.

The name of the site identifies the home address of a private landowner. To the best of our knowledge, the Environment Agency will not be pursuing a prosecution, therefore the name of the site is not currently, and will not be, in the public domain.

Moreover, an individual's home address is in my view, personal data. Under Regulation 13 of the EIR, a public authority may refuse to release personal data if its disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles set out in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The legal definition of personal data, or information, contained in the DPA is information that relates to a living individual, who can be identified from the information, or from other information held or likely to be held by the data controller (in this case the Council). Therefore, if one can combine an address with other information held by the Council, then the address is personal data. I am satisfied that this is the case here as one could use the address, in combination with information contained in the Register of Electors, for example, to identify the individual.

The first data protection principle requires that personal data be processed fairly and lawfully, with the term processing including disclosure or release to third parties. Schedule 2 of the DPA provides the conditions relevant to the first data protection principle and at least one must be met before personal data can be disclosed.

The relevant condition is found at paragraph 6 of Schedule 2, which I will quote below in full:

"6 (1) The processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject."

Disclosure of information under the EIR has the effect of placing it in the public domain. I must therefore disregard who has asked for the information and am required to consider whether it would breach the first data protection principle by releasing it to the public at large.

The first step in meeting the condition quoted above is to establish whether there is in fact a legitimate public interest in disclosing the information, before considering whether the interests of the individuals in question outweigh this. I would add that the concept of public interest differs from mere public curiosity, or something that may be interest to the public.

I recognise that there is an inherent public interest in making available environmental information and that this is reflected in the greater presumption of disclosure contained in the EIR.

However, I believe that in this case, countervailing factors come into play, which militate against disclosure of the name of the site. These are as follows:

1. Whether the information is about the individual's private or public life.

The name of the site, which also provids the home address of a person, clearly relates to their private life and disclosure would therefore be a significant intrusion of their privacy.

2. The reasonable expectations of the individuals.

I believe that in the absence of a prosecution, there would be no expecation on the part of the landowner that information identifying them would be made public.

3. The potential harm or distress that may be caused by the disclosure.

In view of the above, I believe that disclosure would certainly cause distress.

I am therefore of the view that taking these three factors into account, disclosing the name of the site would breach the first principle and as such, the information should be withheld. I am also withholding a signature in accordance with guidance received from the Information Commissioner's Office on the publication of planning documents, which I believe can also be applied here.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled, you can request a review by writing to:

The Head of Administration & Law
Carmarthenshire County Council
County Hall
Carmarthen
SA31 1JP

Email: [email address]
 
If you remain unhappy with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Os derbyniwch y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar unwaith, dilëwch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gopïau papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i neb arall, na gweithredu ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwyntiau a fynegir, ac nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau meddalwedd neu drwy ryng-gipio'r neges hon neu ymyrryd â hi.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed.
If received in error please notify the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person, nor the contents acted upon.

Any views or opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council.

You should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software viruses or interception/interruption of this mail.

Dear Carmarthenshire Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Environmental breaches'.

First of all, I beleive that Carmarthenshire Council have received more than one warning or similar from the Environment agency in the last 2 years.

Secondly, I do not agree that you should withhold the information relating to the illegal tipping. I beleive that the council must have made duty of care notes when carrying the waste, so there must be records of the amounts. Also I don't think it is right to withhold the names of illegal tipping spots.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/en...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Morgan

Jemima Smith, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr Morgan,

I acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of your
freedom of information request.

You will receive a full response on or before 3rd June 2011. If there is
likely to be a delay in responding, you will be notified of this and the
reasons for this delay.

Regards,

J Smith

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.

Jemima Smith, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr Morgan,

I am writing to advise that there will be a slight delay in providing a
response to your appeal. The reason for this delay is that verification
is required of some details and the staff member required to provide this
verification is not available. I anticipate that you will receive a
response by the 10th June. Please accept my apologies for this delay.

J Smith

show quoted sections

Jemima Smith, Carmarthenshire Council

1 Attachment

<<CCFO-106.docx>>
Dear Mr Morgan,

Please find attached Mr Thomas' determination of your appeal.

Regards,

Jemima Smith
Assistant Solicitor/Cyfreithiwr dan hyfforddiant
Administration & Law/Gweinyddiaeth a'r Gyfaith
Carmarthenshire County Council/Cyngor Sir Caerfyrddin
Tel/Ffon: 01267 224069 (Ext 4069) Fax/Ffacs 01267 224017
Email:[email address]

Important/Pwysig
Please note our DX number has changed and is now DX 744630 Carmarthen 10

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.