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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives you the right to ask us for information we hold.

The intention of FOIA is to promote openness and accountability, and help create a better understanding of how we work, make decisions and spend public money.

We already make information available on this website and in a number of its offices, and our publication scheme provides a guide to the information we routinely publish.

If you can’t find the information you want, you will need to write to us to ask for it.

We have an obligation to provide advice and assistance to you.

This may be:

  • Helping you to refine your request
  • Referring you or transferring your request to another public authority that we believe may hold the information 
  • Helping you to make a request if you are visually impaired


We are required to supply you with the information you have requested unless there is a reason not to – known as exemptions. There are a number of exemptions and some examples are:

  • It is your own personal information or another person’s and disclosing it would breach the Data Protection Act
  • Disclosing the information would breach confidentiality 
  • Disclosure would harm the commercial interests of the council or its partners/suppliers
  • We would be putting our investigations, or health and safety at risk

If an exemption is applied, we may not be able to supply the information or may only be able to supply some of it.

In some instances, we are required to complete a public interest test and it may not be in the public interest to disclose information at that time.

You will be told about any exemptions or the outcome of a public interest test in our response to you.

More information about the exemptions can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website. 

Other legislation

You can ask for copies of your personal information that we hold under the Data Protection Act.

Requests for information that relates to environment will generally be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations.