Lamplighters Marsh, Shirehampton

Susan Davis made this Freedom of Information request to Bristol City Council

The request was partially successful.

From: Susan Davis

28 July 2010

Dear Bristol City Council,

Please could you release all information you hold relating to the
Lamplighters Marsh site, which you are able to release under the
Environmental Information Regulations.

Of particular interest are the following:

a) any data relating to the ecological interest of the site

b) any data relating to management works which have been carried
out at the site or are planned in future

c) any data relating to assessment and monitoring of the site's
ecological value

Yours faithfully,

Susan Davis

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From: Freedom of Information
Bristol City Council

28 July 2010

Thank you for your request for Information made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Your request will now be dealt with and a response will be sent within 20 working days, starting from the next working day after your request is received.

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From: Susan Davis

27 August 2010

Dear Bristol City Council,

Please could you let me have an update on my request? I believe
that under the regulations, I should have received a response by
today. Please could you let me know the revised date by which you
intend to reply.

Thank you,

Susan Davis

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From: Susan Davis

2 September 2010

Dear Bristol City Council,

Please could you let me have an update on my request? I believe
that under the regulations, I should have received a response some
time ago. Please could you let me know the revised date by which
you intend to reply.

Thank you,

Susan Davis

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From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

6 September 2010


Attachment LamplightersManPlan 1.pdf
7.2M Download View as HTML

Attachment LMSurvey.pdf
1.6M Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Davis
Thank you for your request dated 28 July 2010. I apologise for the
delay in our response.

In response to your request, please find enclosed the following
documents:
A Management Plan
Site Survey

I can confirm that some information has been redacted in accordance
with regulation 12(5)(g) of the Environmental Information Regulations
2004 (protection of the environment). It is considered that this
specific data relating to protected species and should not be disclosed
as it may endanger those species. Although the city council aim to be
transparent and accountable to the public, we must protect the natural
wildlife found within our boundary.

This response should answer your request in full, however if you are
not satisfied with this response or wish to lodge an appeal against any
exemptions that may have been applied, you can do so by writing to the
Data Protection Officer at Bristol City Council Legal Services, The
Council House, College Green, Bristol, or [Bristol City Council request email]. Details
of the complaints procedure can be found at
http://www.bristol.gov.uk/complaints.

If, after you have exhausted the council’s complaints procedure, you
are still not satisfied with the response you have received you have the
right to complain to the Information Commissioner, details of your right
to complain can be found at http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx

Copyright notice
The provision of information by Bristol City Council under this scheme
does not imply a right to reproduce or commercially exploit such
information without the Council's express prior written permission.
Reproduction or commercial exploitation of materials supplied under
this scheme without the express permission of Bristol City Council may
be an infringement of copyright.
The Council is unable to grant permission to reproduce or re-use any
material accessed through this scheme that is the property of third
parties. Permission to reproduce or re-use such material must be
obtained from the copyright holders.

______________________________________________________________________
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From: Susan Davis

6 September 2010

Dear Chris,

Many thanks for your helpful reply. I have a few queries - I'd be
grateful if you could help with the following:

a) It's not totally clear where the redactions have been made. I
have made some guesses - but I think these guesses may be wrong -
see below. It would be useful if you could let me know which
sections have been redacted (and if there are any whole documents
which have been redacted).

b) The file LMSurvey.pdf appears to be incomplete; the bird and
butterfly lists referenced in the site survey summary sheet are not
included, and the plant species list only contains species with
names starting with letters A to D. I wondered if these were
redactions, but think this is unlikely as this would mean that all
birds and butterflies and all plants with names starting E to Z
(but none of those with names starting A to D) are sensitive
species. Could you clarify the situation regarding the contents of
this document?

c) The file LamplightersManPlan.pdf has a blank space from the
heading "3.3.2 Fauna" to the heading "3.4 public use". I wondered
if this section was redacted but think that this is unlikely as it
would mean that all of the information contained in this section
relates to sensitive species. Could you clarify the situation
regarding the contents of this document?

Many thanks,

Susan Davis

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From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

7 September 2010

Susan. I can confirm that the sections 3.3.2 (Fauna), 3.3.3 (Ecological
Assessment) and objective 7 (pages 16 and 20) have been redacted as
these sections contained information about protected species. I will
refer your query at b) below to the colleague who provided me with the
information as it would appear that some details have been omitted in
error.

Chris Harper
Central Support Manager
Management Suite
Brunel House
St George's Road
Bristol
BS1 5UY

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From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

7 September 2010

Susan. With regards to your query b) I can confirm that the survey
information sheet is all which we hold. It makes reference to surveys
held by the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) who
should be contacted for further information. My colleague in Nature
Conservation does not know why the species list stops at D, however
other species beyond D are listed in handwritten script on the same
sheet. We would guess that this is to save printing off other sheets
which have few records against them.

Chris Harper
Central Support Manager

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From: Susan Davis

7 September 2010

Dear Chris Harper,

Thank you very much for this information.

You've suggested that I contact Bristol Regional Environmental
Records Centre regarding the remaining information. However, it is
my understanding that BRERC is simply the name for a department
within the city council's museum service, and so any EIR enquiry
made to the city council should cover information held by this
department. If I'm incorrect, please could you let me know what
your understanding is in relation to BRERC's status and
relationship with the city council.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Davis

Link to this

From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

8 September 2010

Susan. BRERC is a not for profit organisation which is hosted by but is not a part of Bristol City Council.

Chris Harper

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From: Susan Davis

8 September 2010

Dear Chris,

Thanks for this reply. Could you confirm what kind of
not-for-profit organisation? I am unable to find an entry for BRERC
in either the Charities Commission register of charities or the UK
companies list at the Companies House website.

Yours,

Susan

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From: Susan Davis

16 September 2010

Hi Chris,

I wondered if you have been able to make any more progress with
establishing the exact status of BRERC and whether information held
there is in or out of scope of EIR requests submitted to the city
council.

I've been making my own enquiries and it is my understanding that
the premises BRERC occupies, and the IT equipment on which BRERC
holds its data are city council owned, and that the staff who
operate BRERC are city council employees, if that helps.

Yours,

Susan

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From: Susan Davis

28 September 2010

Dear Chris,

Could you confirm that you received my emails of 8 and 16
September? I've not had a reply and I wondered if you might not
have received them.

Thanks,

Susan

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From: Susan Davis

1 October 2010

Dear Bristol City Council,

I currently have an request lodged with you under the Environmental
Information Regulations. It has been answered in part but I have a
query which is with Chris Harper to answer. I have emailed Chris on
8 and 16 September and again this week but have not received a
reply. Could you please let me know whether Chris has received my
emails and if so, when I am likely to hear back?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Davis

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From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

6 October 2010

Susan. Firstly, my apologies, both for the delay in responding and for the confusion over the relationship of the City Council with the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre. I have been in contact with the BRERC which is a partner organisation funded by Bristol City Council, as well as other local authorities which lie within the former Avon County Council area.

The BRERC has advised that information, above and beyond what you originally requested, can be provided if you submit an enquiry (not FOI or EIR) directly through its website www.brerc.org

Chris Harper
Central Support Manager
Management Suite
Brunel House
St George's Road
Bristol
BS1 5UY
Tel:0117 922 3382
E-mail:[email address]

______________________________________________________________________
'Do it online' with our growing range of online services - http://www.bristol.gov.uk/services

Sign-up for our email bulletin giving news, have-your-say and event information at: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/newsdirect

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From: Susan Davis

6 October 2010

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your reply, and the link to the website for obtaining
further information.

I've not heard of the term "partner organisation" before; can you
tell me what is meant by this?

Thanks,

Susan Davis

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Daniel Marshall left an annotation ( 6 October 2010)

Quote-marks The website address given is wrong.

It should be www.brerc.org.uk

The answer to your question is available on the BRERC website. BRERC is a partnership organisation.

http://www.brerc.org.uk/brerc/brerc_over...

Look under "Who is in charge of BRERC?"

Link to this

Susan Davis left an annotation ( 6 October 2010)

Quote-marks For the benefit of other visitors to this site, the link in Daniel's comment doesn't actually address my question; it gives lots of information about the governance mechanisms which relate to BRERC, and organisations other than the city council which play a part in these. However, it doesn't contain any information which the city council can use to justify its claim that BRERC and the city council are separate organisations, which is the basis on which the information held there has been withheld.

Link to this

From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

7 October 2010

Susan. An organisation with whom the City Council works, possibly but not necessarily through a funding arrangement, and which either provides complementary services or services which the City Council does not offer.

Chris

P.S. Susan - sorry but have just noticed that the website reference which I gave you is incorrect and should read www.brerc.org.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

Daniel Marshall left an annotation ( 7 October 2010)

Quote-marks For the benefit of other visitors to this site, I think it is important to clarify that no data is being withheld.

The BRERC website has an enquiry section from which any member of the public can follow a procedure to get information for a given area released to them, at no charge, and within ten working days. As visitors to the website can see for themselves, the range of data available seems to be far greater than the information that has already been sent to Susan.

Should any visitors to this site require any wildlife data about this site or any other site in the area that BRERC covers, then I would encourage them to make use of what appears to be an excellent service.

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From: Susan Davis

7 October 2010

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your further reply. I'm afraid I'm still having a little
difficulty with this. The concern that I have centres around the
fact that I haven't been able to find any independent corroboration
that BRERC is a separate organisation from the city council, while
I have been able to find several pieces of evidence which suggest
that it isn't.

I'm sure you can understand my concern here. If a hypothetical
local authority wanted to avoid the regulatory burden imposed by
the EIRs, it could, in theory, claim that part of its structure was
an independent organisation and therefore not subject to the EIRs.
I'm not for one minute suggesting that this is the case here, and
I'm sure that you and the staff at BRERC are sincere in your belief
that they work for a separate organisation.

One way forward could perhaps be for me to submit an FOI request
for any information the city council holds which provides evidence
for BRERC's independent status. Alternatively, maybe there is
another external register other than the two which I haved searched
(the Charities Commission database and Companies House listings)
which I could use to get to the bottom of this.

Regarding the information I originally requested, I am satisfied
that a direct request to BRERC via its website would enable me to
obtain more data on the Lamplighters site, so thank you for helping
me with that. My only outstanding issue is whether for any future
requests I (or anyone else) might make, the data held at BRERC
should automatically be released as part of an EIR request to the
city council, or whether separate requests would be needed.

I'll give this further thought and get back in touch in due course,
but in the meantime, if an obvious way to resolve the question
occurs to you, please let me know.

Sorry to take up so much of your time with this

Susan

Link to this

From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

7 October 2010

I am away from the office until Mon 11th October

show quoted sections

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your further reply. I'm afraid I'm still having a little
difficulty with this. The concern that I have centres around the
fact that I haven't been able to find any independent corroboration
that BRERC is a separate organisation from the city council, while
I have been able to find several pieces of evidence which suggest
that it isn't.

I'm sure you can understand my concern here. If a hypothetical
local authority wanted to avoid the regulatory burden imposed by
the EIRs, it could, in theory, claim that part of its structure was
an independent organisation and therefore not subject to the EIRs.
I'm not for one minute suggesting that this is the case here, and
I'm sure that you and the staff at BRERC are sincere in your belief
that they work for a separate organisation.

One way forward could perhaps be for me to submit an FOI request
for any information the city council holds which provides evidence
for BRERC's independent status. Alternatively, maybe there is
another external register other than the two which I haved searched
(the Charities Commission database and Companies House listings)
which I could use to get to the bottom of this.

Regarding the information I originally requested, I am satisfied
that a direct request to BRERC via its website would enable me to
obtain more data on the Lamplighters site, so thank you for helping
me with that. My only outstanding issue is whether for any future
requests I (or anyone else) might make, the data held at BRERC
should automatically be released as part of an EIR request to the
city council, or whether separate requests would be needed.

I'll give this further thought and get back in touch in due course,
but in the meantime, if an obvious way to resolve the question
occurs to you, please let me know.

Sorry to take up so much of your time with this

Susan

show quoted sections

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From: Chris Harper
Bristol City Council

11 October 2010


Attachment BRERC and FOIEIR Requests to your Councils.rtf.doc
4K Download View as HTML


Susan. I understand your concern about EIRs which are directed to independent organisations but perhaps the attached clarification offered by the BRERC will both confirm its status and provide reassurance that it is committed to providing information which may be requested through either the FOI or EIR routes. Such requests, if submitted to Bristol City Council and other authorities which support the BRERC would be forwarded to the latter to answer through its enquiry service.

Chris

show quoted sections

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Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation (16 November 2010)

Quote-marks That letter is quite interesting; it basically claims that an authority can avoid responsibility for responding directly under FOI or EIR, if they set up some other organisation that makes the information "reasonably accessible" instead.

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Ben Harris left an annotation (17 November 2010)

Quote-marks I think that's correct, but only if the other organisation is not a public authority in its own right (since if it were, section 21(3) would bite).

Of course, for environmental information the rules are all different anyway.

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Ben Harris left an annotation (23 December 2010)

Quote-marks I've now got confirmation from Bristol City Council that BRERC is part of the Council:

<http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...>

Thus any information held by BRERC (other than information held on behalf of someone else) is held by the Council. It's still possible that s21 will apply, of course.

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