Press release 24 June 2008
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ordered the Department for Transport (DfT) to release information relating to the proposal for a second runway at Stansted airport, under the Environmental Information Regulations.The press release also comments that the ICO's investigation was unnecessarily delayed by the DfT continually requesting additional time. An Information Notice was issued by the ICO requesting details of the efforts the Department had made to locate the requested information.
The Department for Transport refused to release the information on the grounds that the documents relate to the formulation of government policy which resulted in the 2003 White Paper on air transport...
The Information Commissioner acknowledged that the timing of a freedom of information request is an important consideration where different policy options are being examined and debated. However, the ICO notes that in this case DfT’s decision to withhold the information was made nearly two years after the White Paper was published. In the Information Commissioner’s view there was therefore little risk of disclosure prejudicing the policy-making process as the Government’s policy choices had already been set out.
The Information Commissioner believes that the disclosure of information relating to policy formulation can be valuable in helping to inform public debate and encourage transparency in relation to the decision making process.
Read the full press release and decision notice.