Folkestone and Hythe District Council breached regulations unreasonable charges for the provision of environmental information.

The UK’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) investigated the district council following complaints from a member of the public saying that the council were only making information about meetings held by the‘Kent Planning Officers Group’ available subject to a £375 charge.

Following the investigation, The ICO decided that the Council had breached regulation8(3) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) by seeking to levy an unreasonable charge for the provision of environmental information. The Council also breached regulation 8(4) by failing to notify the complainant of the sought advance payment of the charge within the required time.

The ICO have told the district council that they must Issue a fresh response to the complainant that does not seek to apply a charge within 35 calendar days.

Failure to comply may result in the ICO making written certification of this fact to the High Court which means the matter would be dealt with as a contempt of court.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) is a UK Statutory Instrument (SI 2004 No. 3391) that provides a statutory right of access to environmental information held by UK public authorities. The regulations came into force on 1 January 200 and apply to local authorities.

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