The complainant requested a copy of the Adjustments to the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) for N Ireland 2025 – First Five Year Review which was approved by the Executive Committee of the NI Assembly (the Executive) in April 2008, or a list of the 157 changes which were made to the document when it was published in June 2008. The public authority confirmed that whilst it did not hold a list of the changes, it did hold a copy of the RDS document approved by the Executive but refused to provide it citing section 35(1)(b) of the Act. The Commissioner indicated to the public authority that the withheld information fell within the definition of environmental information under the EIR. However whilst the public authority appreciated the environmental nature of the information contained within the RDS document, it did not regard the focus of the complainant’s request to be environmental. The public authority was therefore content to continue to rely upon the exemption under s35 of the Act to refuse the information. The Commissioner found that the information requested was environmental information and should have been considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) and, in failing to do so the public authority has breached regulation 5(2) of the EIR. The Commissioner requires the public authority to either provide the information or issue a valid refusal notice that complies with regulation 14 of the EIR within 35 days of the date of this notice.
Section of Act/EIR and Finding: EIR 5 – Complaint Upheld
 UKICO FS50227038
England and Wales
Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.531528