environmental reports on Saughall Massie site owned by Wirral Council

ScarletPimpernel made this Freedom of Information request to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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 Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service,

This year Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has commissioned various environmental studies on a site owned by Wirral Council that MFRA have decided is suitable for a new fire station. The site is off Saughall Massie Road and borders the village of Saughall Massie on the Wirral.

This request is for a copy of those environmental reports. Due to their environmental nature, I presume they will be dealt with as a request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 rather than the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

As the difference between FOI and EIR requests has been incorrectly categorised by for MFRS upper management in the past, I suggest reading decision notice FER0592270 (currently under appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights)) https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... (especially paragraphs 11-12).

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Freedom of Information Team, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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Dear Mr Brace,

Further to your request for information, please see the attached correspondence.

Kind regards,

Jean Crimmins
Corporate Information Sharing Officer
Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters
Bridle Road
Bootle
L30 4YD

(T) 0151 296 4474
(F) 0151 296 4631

Mail to: [email address]
Secure e-mail: [email address]

Intranet/Portal http://intranetportal/sites/KIM/default....
Internet www.merseyfire.gov.uk
 

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Freedom of Information Team, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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Dear Mr Brace

Please see the attached letter in response to your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Kind Regards

Julie Yare

Corporate Information Sharing Officer
Strategy & Performance
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service HQ
Bridle Rd
Bootle
Liverpool
L30 4YD

(T) 0151 296 4479
(F) 0151 296 4631
Mailto: [email address]
[email address]

http://intranetportal/sites/smd/default....
Internet: www.merseyfire.gov.uk

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ScarletPimpernel

Dear Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's handling of my EIR request 'environmental reports on Saughall Massie site owned by Wirral Council'.

You refused this EIR request on the basis of Regulation 12(5)(d) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 with reference to a future planning application that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority/Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service may or may not make to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (in its capacity as local planning authority for Wirral).

However, if a planning application had been made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (or Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service on its behalf) to Wirral Council then Wirral Council would publish both the planning application and accompanying reports (such as the environmental reports that form part of this request) on its website at https://planning.wirral.gov.uk/online-ap... .

As you can read here in Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.69(8) , see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990... , if a planning application is made then Wirral Council has to allow inspection of planning applications by the public.

Therefore the information that forms this FOI request lacks the necessary quality of confidence for 12(5)(d) to be engaged. Regulation 12(5)(d) states:

"(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect—
....
(d)the confidentiality of the proceedings of that or any other public authority where such confidentiality is provided by law;"

There is no provision in law for confidentiality before a planning application is made as proceedings haven't yet started.

So:

a) proceedings haven't started yet to decide on a planning application that MFRA may/may not make in the future and

b) even if they had the documents referred to would both be published on Wirral Council's website https://planning.wirral.gov.uk/online-ap... and open to inspection by the public!

Lastly, there are public interest factors in favour of transparency.

1) Transparency in how taxpayers' money that has been used to pay for the environmental reports has been used by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority,

2) Strong public interest in the matter evidenced by a 341 strong petition on the issue of development of this site, see https://www.change.org/p/wirral-borough-... which is also partially published on your website http://mfra.merseyfire.gov.uk/documents/... ,

3) Better understanding by the public of the environmental issues affecting the possibility of development of this site prior to Merseyside FIre and Rescue Service/Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority submitting a planning application,

and

4) The current owner of the site is also the public body that would decide on the planning application which represents a conflict of interest as they would financially benefit from development being approved on this site.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Freedom of Information Team, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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Dear Mr Brace,

Please find attached my response to your email below.

Regards

Deb Appleton
Director of Strategy and Performance
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service
Bridle Road
Bootle
L30 4YD

0151 296 4402
07818034982
[email address]

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