Footbridge farm (planning reference ‪17/01033‬/EIA)

Nicola Squire made this Freedom of Information request to Shropshire Council

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The request was partially successful.

Dear Shropshire Council,
I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.  With reference to the proposed industrial poultry unit at Footbridge farm (planning reference ‪17/01033‬/EIA), please provide the following information:
From 1 January 2017 - 31 August 2019, a copy of all correspondence (including, but not restricted to emails, attachments, letters and discussion notes) between Shropshire Council’s Planning services (Development Management) and the following:
1. the Environment Agency,
2. Natural England,
3. Public Health England, and
4. Shropshire Council’s Public Health Service.
I would like the above information to be provided to me as electronic copies.
If this request is too wide or unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the Act, you are required to advise and assist requesters. If any of this information is already in the public domain, please can you direct me to it, with page references and URLs.
I understand that you are required to respond to my request within the 20 working days after you receive this request. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Squire

FOI, Shropshire Council

Dear Ms Squire

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 05/07/2020.  We are
currently processing your request in accordance with the relevant
legislation.

Your request is for information about planning at Footbridge Farm
reference 17/01033/EIA.

* This is a summary only and full details have been sent to the team
providing the response.
* If you feel the information is inaccurate or requires amendment,
please notify us as soon as possible using the contact details
provided below. 

 
Please note:
 
The Council has been facing unprecedented challenges this year. Firstly,
in response to the flooding in February and now in responding to the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During this time, resources may have to
be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights work. The
council acknowledges that it can’t extend statutory timescales of requests
and everyone is doing their best to meet these. However, priority may have
to be given to other areas, eg the safeguarding of vulnerable people,
during this extraordinary period.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has blogged about their approach to
requests during this time: [1]blog
 
The Information Commissioner’s Office has released a statement about Data
Protection and the Coronavirus here: [2]statement

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Governance Team

Shropshire Council

Shirehall

Abbey Foregate

SHREWSBURY

SY2 6ND

 

Tel:                  01743 252179 / 252774 / 252747

Email:             [Shropshire Council request email]

Web:               [3]www.shropshire.gov.uk/access-to-information

 

 

 

[4]For information about Coronavirus click here/image below
[5][IMG]

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References

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4. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
5. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Dear Sirs,

I remind you that this request is now overdue.

Please provide a response as required under Freedom of Information legislation.
Yours faithfully,

Nicola Squire

Information.Request, Shropshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Squire

 

Thank you for your email. We are sorry that you have not received a
response to your request. We have forwarded your email to the team
responding as a reminder.

 

Please note that the council has been facing unprecedented challenges this
year. Firstly, in response to the flooding in February and now in
responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During this time,
resources may have to be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. The council acknowledges that it can’t extend
statutory timescales of requests and everyone is doing their best to meet
these. However, priority may have to be given to other areas, eg the
safeguarding of vulnerable people, during this extraordinary period.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has [1]blogged about their
approach to requests during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, [2]and
released a statement about data protection and the virus.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Governance Team

Shropshire Council

Shirehall

Abbey Foregate

SHREWSBURY

SY2 6ND

 

Telephone: 01743 252179

Email: [3][Shropshire Council request email]

 

 

[4]Catch it, bin it, kill it

 

[5]https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviru...

 

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Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council

5 Attachments

Dear Ms Squire,

 

I apologise for the delay in our response.

 

You have requested the following information:

 

I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.  With reference to the
proposed industrial poultry unit at Footbridge farm (planning reference
‪17/01033/EIA), please provide the following information:

From 1 January 2017 - 31 August 2019, a copy of all correspondence
(including, but not restricted to emails, attachments, letters and
discussion notes) between Shropshire Council’s Planning services
(Development Management) and the following:

1. the Environment Agency,

2. Natural England,

3. Public Health England, and

4. Shropshire Council’s Public Health Service.

 

Please find attached 4 documents in response to your request.  As the
information relates to land matters, we have considered your request under
the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

o Consultation response from Ecology Team dated 14.08.2017
o Email from case officer to Director of Public Heath dated 3.07.2019
o Email from Director of Public Health to case officer dated 4.07.2019
o Consultation response from Public Health England, dated 31.07.2019,
and published on 1.08.2019 (Planning Register)

 

All other documentation is available in the Planning Register which is
available to view on the Council website:

 

[1]https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/planning/a...

 

Please note that some information has been refused as this is personal
information and is exempt from disclosure under Regulation 12(3) of the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.  The information would be
classed as the personal information of a third party and we do not have
consent to disclose it to you.

 

In accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations this letter
is a part refusal to your request.  If you are dissatisfied with the way
your request has been handled, you may ask for an internal review.  Please
contact:  The Information Governance Team, Workforce and Transformation,
Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND or email on
[2][Shropshire Council request email] if you wish to request a review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.  You can find more details at [3]www.ico.org.uk or by telephone on
0303 123 1113.

 

Regards

 

Mark Barrow

Director of Place

 

 

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Dear Mark Barrow,

Thank you for eventually responding to my Freedom of Information (“FOI”) request.

I remind you that my request was for a copy of all correspondence related to a planning application for an intensive poultry unit (“IPU”), reference ‪17/01033‬/EIA, between Shropshire Council’s Planning Services (Development Management) and any of the following interested parties during the period 1 January 2017 - 31 August 2019 (inclusive):

* Environment Agency (“EA”),
* Natural England (“NE”),
* Public Health England (“PHE”),
* Shropshire Council’s Public Health Service (“PHS”).

In response, you have provided copies of the following correspondence:

* A statutory consultee commentary from an Ecologist officer and publicly available on the Council’s planning portal since 17 August 2017,
* A statutory consultee commentary from PHE and publicly available on the Council’s planning portal since 31 July 2019,
* One email chain between Shropshire Council’s Public Protection, Planning, and PHS officers dated 3 July 2019.

Two of the documents were already publicly available, yet there are at least five more equivalent documents, from the EA and NE, that you have, for whatever reason and without explanation, failed to provide.

You cite Regulation 12(3) of the Environmental Information Regulations (“EIR”) 2004 as grounds to withhold all other correspondence between your Planning service and the EA, NE, and PHE public sector bodies, claiming that “The information would be classed as the personal information of a third party and we do not have consent to disclose it to you”.

Yet, in response to a similar FOI request, PHE provided emails between itself and your Planning service, without prevarication, for the selfsame period and subject. Apparently, PHE released this information on the ‘presumption in favour of disclosure’, which is encouraged under the regulations, that you, on behalf of Shropshire Council, have, for whatever reason, chosen not to follow in this case.

From the delay, inconsistency, and refusal, it is clear that the guiding principles for providing publicly held information to the public in an open, accurate, and timely manner, appears to be an area in which you are confused.

I must therefore inform you that information is not automatically exempt under regulation 12(3) just because it is the personal data of someone else. You should consider the details of the exemption you have applied, and your refusal notice under the EIR must explain exactly which subsection is engaged and why. Furthermore, you should bear in mind the presumption in favour of disclosure under the Regulations – that you should release information unless there is a good reason not to.

If you want more detail, I am happy to oblige, but as this is your field of responsibility, I think you should give this matter your utmost attention and reassure the public that you are taking this matter of pollution on the environment and its impact on health and wellbeing, seriously and responsibly.

The question you need to ask yourselves is whether a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered these facts, would conclude that there is a real possibility that your decision to withhold information in this case is biased.

Nevertheless, based on your response, I now request you to provide the following information:

* The provision/subsection under which you are withholding the information.
* Whether the balancing test was applied, and your considerations.
* The name of the organisation/s and/or internal team/s the withheld information originates from.
* A redacted copy of withheld documents if, upon reflection, you are still unable, or unwilling, to provide an un-redacted copy.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Squire

Information.Request, Shropshire Council

Dear Ms Squire

 

Thank you for your email. We will carry out an internal review of your
request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Governance Team

Shropshire Council

Shirehall

Abbey Foregate

SHREWSBURY

SY2 6ND

 

Telephone: 01743 252179

Email: [Shropshire Council request email]

 

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Information.Request, Shropshire Council

Dear Nicola,

 

I can confirm that your email below has been looked into to ascertain if
any  further information is held that can be disclosed to you.

 

Firstly the Regulation 12(3) exemption was applied to one email chain
only, this email chain included emails sent directly from a third party
member of the public to the Council and as such we cannot provide this
emails exchange to you as it is the personal information of that third
party and there would be no expectation on their part that we would
release into the public domain personal emails they had sent to you.

 

All other information held that is relevant to your request has been
provided and the department have done another thorough check of the
systems and emails.

 

I have highlighted in yellow the part of your email where you reference
five other documents, however in order to assist you and make sure we deal
with this fully can you provide any further details about these five
emails so that we can look into this specific aspect further?

 

Kind Regards

 

Tom

 

Information Governance Team

Shropshire Council

Shirehall

Abbey Foregate

SHREWSBURY

SY2 6ND

 

Telephone: 01743 252179

Email: [1][Shropshire Council request email]

 

 

 

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Dear Information.Request,

Consultee comments were received from NE on 24/7/17 and 5/7/19, and from EA on 17/3/17 and 23/7/19. These and correspondence between the Council and NE and EA were omitted from the response.

Furthermore, there are email chains between Council officers and PHE dating from 29/8/17 - early September 2017 and also on and around 31/8/19.

Yours sincerely,
Nicola Squire