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  • Charging issues clash with EIRs

    Posted on December 2nd, 2009 admin No comments
    EIRs apply to Land, Soil, Air and Fauna

    EIRs apply to Land, Soil, Air and Fauna

    It would appear that local authorities are in danger of losing a revenue stream thanks to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

    The local searches conducted normally when a person moves house, to check on any planning issues relating to their prospective home, used to be a little money spinner for councils.

    Now however, it would appear that the Information Commissioner has decided this material is covered by EIRs and that if a person makes a personal request for the data it should be free of charge.

    This policy was backed up by guidance issued by the Commissioner [link] as well as a string of recent decision notices from East Riding [link], Tendring [link] and Liverpool [link].

    In the Liverpool case the complaint was made by a company that gets hold of the information on a commercial basis.

    The council rejected the company’s request to be allowed the information for free and the row was eventually settled by the Commissioner.

    In his ruling he sides with the company and states that although he does not have the power to order it he suggest that the council refund the applicant’s £9.48.

    However, it would seem that many local authorities are not entirely happy at the prospect of having to do land searches for free – under a 20-day deadline – for any Tom, Dick or Harry who happens to roll up at their offices.

    It would appear Liverpudlians are now free to make an EIR request via computer terminals.

    It would appear Liverpudlians are now free to make an EIR request via computer terminals.

    A quick trawl of the internet has found a number of councils claiming they are seeking further advice on the Commissioner’s ruling and have taken the matter to the Local Government Association for consideration.

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