X and West Dunbartonshire Council: SIC 11 Sep 2009

Mr X requested from West Dunbartonshire Council (the Council) information relating to a complaint which he and his wife had made about a nuisance odour from a specified address. The Council withheld the information under various exemptions in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). Following a review, Mr X remained dissatisfied and applied to the Commissioner for a decision.
During the investigation, the Commissioner took the view that the information comprised environmental information and asked for the Council’s comments as to whether the request should have been dealt with under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs).
The Council did not wholly agree that the information was environmental. However, it indicated that should the Commissioner continue to consider the case under the EIRS, it would wish to rely on section 39(2) of FOISA and regulations 11 (Personal data) of the EIRs for withholding the information.
Following an investigation, the Commissioner found that the Council had been correct to withhold the information requested by Mr X under the exceptions in regulation 11 of the EIRs, on the basis that some of the information was Mr X’s own personal data and that the other information was the personal data of third parties, the disclosure of which would breach at least one of the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 (the DPA).
However, he found that the Council had failed to respond to Mr X’s request for review within the timescale specified in regulation 16(4) of the EIRs. He did not require the Council to take any action in relation to this breach in response to this decision.

[2009] ScotIC 108 – 2009


Updated: 04 December 2021; Ref: scu.434061