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Information Commissioner tells LDA to provide CPO information

The LDA has been told in a ruling by the Information Commissioner to supply details of how much it paid for a number of sites, including the Clays Lane estate, purchased under the Compulsory Purchase Order, and to whom this money was paid. The original request was made in July 2008, see attachment ‘LDA FoI response on cpo statements’. Curiously the complaint was upheld because, despite claiming an exemption, the LDA failed to offer a reason why it should apply.

The LDA refused my request saying first that I could find this information elsewhere on the Land Registry. It later agreed that this not possible as the land had been bundled up with other items making it impossible to separate out the sites. However, it insisted ‘the public interest in ensuring that the LDA is able to negotiate freely with any other landowners leans in favour of not providing the information at this stage whilst negotiations are ongoing.’

There was a prolonged discussion between the Commissioner and the LDA as to which section of the regulations applied. The LDA had initially relied on section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act (‘the Act’). It later retracted this, instead citing section 43(2) of the Act. During the course of the investigation the Commissioner found that the information was environmental information and asked the LDA to reconsider the request. The LDA maintained that the information was not environmental maintaining its reliance on section 43(2) of the Act. However, it stated that if the matter fell to be considered under the Environmental Information Regulations the information would be exempt under regulation 12(5)(e).

Having stated that this exemption applied, the LDA failed to provide any argument to the Commissioner to support this. The Commissioner refused to refer to the points originally supplied by the LDA and ruled that, because no argument had been made, the exemption did not apply. The Commissioner never considered the public interest argument.

The LDA has been required to provide the information within 35 days or face contempt of court. No information has been supplied so far.

LDA FoI response on cpo payments.pdf78.64 KB

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