National Grid Electricity System Operator (Other): ICO 14 Sep 2020

The complainant has requested information relating to the process by which the National Grid Electricity System Operator (NG) determines the best location for the connections to be made from a number of proposed offshore windfarms to the transmission network. These are significant infrastructure projects. The NG provided a limited amount of information but ultimately withheld the majority of the remaining information under the exceptions provided by regulations 12(4)(d) – material in the course of completion, 12(5)(a) – public safety, 12(5)(d) – confidentiality of proceedings 12(5)(e) -confidentiality of commercial information and 13(1) third party personal data. In addition to these exceptions a limited amount of that information was also withheld under regulation 12(4)(e) – internal communications. Finally some elements of the request were refused under regulation 12(4)(a) on the basis that the information was not held. NG initially applied regulations 12(4)(c) – request formulated in too general a manner, and 12(5)(f) – voluntary supply of information, but later withdrew its reliance on both of these exceptions. The Commissioner’s decision is that NG does not hold the information in respect of requests 1(e) and 2 and is therefore entitled to refuse the request under regulation 12(4)(a). In respect of the remainder of the information the Commissioner has found that each of the exceptions provided by regulations 12(5)(d) and (e) are engaged and that the public interest in maintaining each of those exceptions individually is sufficient to outweigh the public interest in favour of disclosure. Under the EIR a public authority may aggregate the public interest arguments in favour of maintaining any number of exceptions which have been applied to the same information. It follows that the collective weight of the public interest in favour of maintaining regulations 12(5)(d) and(e) outweigh the public interest in favour of disclosure. Therefore the Commissioner has not found it necessary to consider the other exceptions that have been applied to this same body of information. The Commissioner does not require the public authority to take any further action in this matter.
EIR 12(4)(a): Complaint not upheld EIR 12(5)(d): Complaint not upheld EIR 12(5)(e): Complaint not upheld


[2020] UKICO IC-45736-F1G2




England and Wales


Updated: 04 August 2022; Ref: scu.656067