Dear Aberdeen City Council,

Can I please have all internal communications that relate to Aberdeen City Council's understanding of the High Hedge Act.

Can I have it confirmed that this is a full suite of emails to include Ms Cooper, Ms Marjoram, Mr Laing, Mr Wright, Mr Leonard and any lawyer / other advisory internal communications; minutes of meetings etc.

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrew

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

In addition can it please be confirmed that there is no conflict of interest for Mr Wright around hedge intent. For instance a conflict of interest could be considered if Mr Wright were to own wholly or partially a High Hedge that was not originally planted as a Hedge. Could you please confirm that this is not so.

Can ACC confirm if they have adjudicated or provided feedback to members of the public / businesses over any high hedges where they themselves are being sited as the potential high hedge owners? If this has not occurred is there a known mechanism how these cases are handled impartially?

Could you please confirm how all dubiety was removed from the original legal work when presented to myself.
The legal work sent did not say that it must be a hedge initially it said there was an argument to suggest this but equally that they would have to be considered again on their own merits. Can you confirm what was meant by this and how this was communicated to myself or how what is in text from the legal service team changed so dramatically when conveyed to myself?

Can ACC provide comment that they did not and would not deliberately hold back any information on this case since it is believed that this legal documentation was requested.

The local authority has stated that the vast majority of local authorities in Scotland are in agreement with hedge intent that I believe is indeed so. Could the authority highlight any know authorities that are not in agreement with this intent though so it can be seen how those legal determinations equally were made if it is the case that there are different opinions.

Could ACC provide all meeting notes and communications over the High Hedge Act with other local authorities on this matter which have occurred since the Act was brought into force.

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrew

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

One further query apologies;

Can I request that my personal name is removed from these and previous requests as I wish for the matter to remain private and at this time I do not want this information to be publicised with my name upon reflection and I would be grateful if this could be done just as my request was that all official names were to remain anonymous.

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrew

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

For example with communications with other local authorities do ACC have procedures of how this Act is enacted and their own procedures? Can these procedures be provided?
Can other local authority procedures where they perhaps don't advocate the requirement initially to be planted as a hedge can these be shared also or made known whom to ask so that this can be appreciated?

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrew

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

The following also have no close out and I wonder if FOI is the best resolution to achieve same as I wish to finalise this review quickly;

Can ACC confirm that my rejection letter returned to the wrong address was an administration error and not some deliberate attempt to further delay my query.

Can ACC confirm that so far (5th August 2017) they have received only 1 High Hedge notification from Sam Andrew. Can ACC confirm if they knew at the time of rejecting my enquiry that this was also so or not as it seemed somewhat misconstrued to have sited this at the time my case was being reviewed by the SPSO.

How does Mr Wright and your team legally deny the point that Mr McDonald wrote that the Act simply sites in black and white that when it says it's a Hedge it's referring to a High Hedge? Are you perhaps suggesting that this section in brackets can be blinker ignored since it suits a particular outcome?

How does ACC see the future of this Act working? Does it think it fair and reasonable that light loss is an irrelevant factor in a case where it can categorise something as not a hedge as a means to decree it is not a high hedge where the definition of a high hedge is otherwise met.

Can ACC please explain when they would permit trees that are not in a straight line to be a hedge, when they would permit well spaced trees to be a hedge, when they would permit only 2 trees to be a hedge.

Can Mrs Marjoram explain what she meant in her email 6 Feb 2017, at 09:35,

'Thank you for your email, which raises a number of points and needs further review'

and the response

'I regret that Aberdeen City Council cannot enter into further communication with you regarding your complaint.'

Can ACC tell me why they will no longer enter into discussions around the points of that show that ACC apply flexibility to this Act to Accommodate the fact that they interpret intent to be pivotal. Under what grounds are ACC able to stop communication with a law abiding citizen of the community who is merely trying to resolve a very taxing issue for his family and neighbourhood which has been blighted by this issue?

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrew

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Andrew

 

Thank you for your request for information, made under Section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), and received on 7 August
2017.

 

We would like to ask you to clarify your request so that we can identify
and locate the information which you have requested. Under Section 1(3) of
the FOISA, we do not have to supply you with the requested information
until you have provided us with more detail in this respect.

 

Can I please have all internal communications that relate to Aberdeen City
Council’s understanding of the High Hedge Act.

 

Can I have it confirmed that this is a full suite of emails to include Ms
Cooper, Ms Marjoram, Mr Laing, Mr Wright, Mr Leonard and any lawyer/other
advisory internal communications; minutes of meetings etc.

 

We would be extremely grateful if you could clarify the timeframe in which
you would like the requested  information.

 

Clarifying these points will help us to be sure we are providing, where
possible, the information you are interested in.  Please note we will keep
your request on file for 20 working days whilst we await your
clarification.  It can often be helpful to discuss your request with a
member of our team who may be able to help you frame your request or
explain more about how ACC holds its information; if this is something you
feel may be helpful please do call us, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gail Halfyard

 

Information Compliance Team

Customer Service

Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

 

Information Compliance Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your request for information, made under Section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), and received on 7 August
2017.

 

We would like to ask you to clarify your request so that we can identify
and locate the information which you have requested. Under Section 1(3) of
the FOISA, we do not have to supply you with the requested information
until you have provided us with more detail in this respect.

 

In addition can it please be confirmed that there is no conflict of
interest for Mr Wright around hedge intent.  For instance a conflict of
interest could be considered if Mr Wright were to own wholly or partially
a High Hedge that was not originally planted as a Hedge.  Can you please
confirm that this is not so.

 

Environmental Information Regulations provide access to recorded
information held by public authorities. As it stands, your request above
appears to be seeking opinion and, as such, is not a valid request for
information. You may wish to revise your request. For example, you could
ask for any recorded information relating to policies and procedures
followed by officers re High Hedge work?

 

Can ACC confirm if they have adjudicated or provided feedback to members
of the public/businesses over any high hedges where they themselves are
being sited as the potential high hedge owners? If this has not occurred
is there a known mechanism how these cases are handled impartially?

 

We would be extremely grateful if you could clarify the timeframe within
which you wish the information? For example, are you interested in this
information for the last year, 2 years etc.?

 

Could you please confirm how all dubiety was removed from the original
legal work when presented to myself. The legal work sent did not say that
it must be a hedge initially it said there was an argument to suggest this
but equally that they would have to be considered again on their own
merits.  Can you confirm what was meant by this and how this was
communicated to myself or how what is in text from the legal service team
changed so dramatically when convened to myself?

 

This appears to be a request for comment and not a request for recorded
information. We are already processing a request from you for information
held relating to legal work (FOI-17-1117).

 

Can ACC provide comment that they did not and would not deliberately hold
back any information on this case since it is believed that this legal
documentation was requested.

 

This appears to be a request for comment and not a request for recorded
information. As previously advised, if you have made a request for
information and are not satisfied with our response, you can request a
review. Further details are attached.

 

The local authority has stated that the vast majority of local authorities
in Scotland are in agreement with hedge intent that I believe is indeed
so.  Could the authority highlight any known authorities that are not in
agreement with this intent though so it can be seen how those legal
determinations equally were made if it is the case that there are
different opinions.

 

We would only be able to provide you with a response to this question if
we had recorded such comment. It may be more appropriate for you to
contact other local authorities for comparative information.

 

Clarifying these points will help us to be sure we are providing, where
possible, the information you are interested in.  Please note we will keep
your request on file for 20 working days whilst we await your
clarification.  It can often be helpful to discuss your request with a
member of our team who may be able to help you frame your request or
explain more about how ACC holds its information; if this is something you
feel may be helpful please do call us, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Gail Halfyard

 

Information Compliance Team

Customer Service

Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

 

Information Compliance Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your request for information, made under Section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), and received on 7 August
2017.

 

We would like to ask you to clarify your request so that we can identify
and locate the information which you have requested. Under Section 1(3) of
the FOISA, we do not have to supply you with the requested information
until you have provided us with more detail in this respect.

 

Can other local authority procedures where they perhaps don't advocate the
requirement initially to be planted as a hedge can these be shared also or
made known whom to ask so that this can be appreciated?

 

We would be extremely grateful if you could clarify what you are looking
for here? Are you asking for information on other local authorities
procedures? If yes, we would like to advise you to contact the local
authorities you are interested in as they will hold this information.

 

Clarifying these points will help us to be sure we are providing, where
possible, the information you are interested in.  Please note we will keep
your request on file for 20 working days whilst we await your
clarification.  It can often be helpful to discuss your request with a
member of our team who may be able to help you frame your request or
explain more about how ACC holds its information; if this is something you
feel may be helpful please do call us, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

 

Information Compliance Team

Customer Service

Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your recent emails. They are being treated as multiple
requests for information and you will receive separate emails as
acknowledgement. Please use the relevant reference number in all future
correspondence. I have addressed some questions below which we are unable
to process:

 

Can I request that my personal name is removed from these and previous
requests as I wish for the matter to remain private and at this time I do
not want this information to be publicised with my name upon reflection
and I would be grateful if this could be done just as my request was that
all official names were to remain anonymous.

 

Aberdeen City Council (ACC) has not published your name in any of its
correspondence. In fact, ACC treats each of its requests for information
on an applicant-blind status where the name of the applicant is not
communicated by the FOI team. The nature of the request may make this
clear to the officer processing the request but it is not published by
ACC.

 

Having said that, I am aware that you are using the website, What Do they
Know, to make your requests. I can advise that What Do They Know are a
separate site not affiliated with ACC. We have no control over what they
publish on their site in relation to requests made through them. They do
provide guidance on this matter on their site at the following link:

 

[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/priv...

 

If you wish this information removed from this site, you will have to
contact them direct.

 

How does Mr Wright and your team legally deny the point that Mr McDonald
wrote that the Act simply sites in black and white that when it says it's
a Hedge it's referring to a High Hedge? Are you perhaps suggesting that
this section in brackets can be blinker ignored since it suits a
particular outcome?

This appears to be a request for comment and not a request for recorded
information. It may be appropriate to rephrase your request although I am
aware that you have already made requests for legal information relating
to High Hedges.

 

How does ACC see the future of this Act working? Does it think it fair and
reasonable that light loss is an irrelevant factor in a case where it can
categorise something as not a hedge as a means to decree it is not a high
hedge where the definition of a high hedge is otherwise met.

This appears to be a request for comment and not a request for recorded
information. You may wish to revise your request to relate to recorded
information.

 

Can ACC please explain when they would permit trees that are not in a
straight line to be a hedge, when they would permit well spaced trees to
be a hedge, when they would permit only 2 trees to be a hedge.

This appears to be a request for comment and not a request for recorded
information. You may wish to revise your request to relate to recorded
information. For example, you may request to access ACC’s policies and
procedures relating to High Hedges?

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

Information Compliance Team

Customer Service

Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[2][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[3]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/priv...
2. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
3. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Dear Foi Enquiries,

Indeed it is a request to comment that I ask. A lot of which relates to the representation ACC gave for the city of Aberdeen to Holyrood and relates henceforth to what was intended by trying to narrow down the act and the fairness of this when doing so they acknowledge means that the same effect can be reached but zero remediation as the Act clearly intends.

The situation is a deeply unfair one. The Act is about fairness and it seems like ACC have not engaged to find any form of a mediated process in this and a complete lack of imagination and consideration. The comment that ACC highlight that not all LA's are applying the Act as they do highlight that some local authorities can apply not only the definition of the Act but also the spirit and the intent.

Do ACC therefore say they are fulfilling simply the spirit and the intent of the Act as Mark McDonald highlights. It is important to draw a line under what we can agree to disagree with. Simply put ACC's refusal to answer questions is not a way to resolve this situation as issues do inevitably only compound.

It is noted that some of the questions raised may also be resolved if ACC provide their procedures on how they handle High Hedge cases as I have requested.

Thank you for your help this has been very useful.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Andrew

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your email which we received on 11 August 2017.

 

As you are requesting comment from the service, I will forward your
request to them to process.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

Information Compliance Team

Customer Service

Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[1][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Dear Foi Enquiries,

Many thanks Grant for all your help.

I received a very nice note back from ACC on Friday. I agree with ACC that many of these points have become repetitive. Whilst I would encourage ACC to review the FOI items as things like conflict of interest are clearly of huge concern with the ACC position that there should be no independent assessment made of their determinations.

Since though there are points that are repeated I wish to close down all FOI requests given ACC have come forth and acknowledged a reply to many of these items raised already which is appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Andrew

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org