I really am a glutton for punishment. My latest fray in the world of FOI is a request for correspondence relating to the formulation of the Stern Review. I've asked for related correspondence from Stern himself, Gordon Brown, and Brown's special advisers.
If I recall correctly, the Treasury are pretty notorious for flouting transparency legislation, and this looks as if it is going to be no exception. My request was made under the Environmental Information Regulations but the Treasury are insisting that it should be handled under the FOI Act (which will allow them to reject it on cost grounds). They say that because they are an economics and finance ministry, the correspondence I'm after will not be communicating environmental information. The fact that they have come up with this response without actually referring to the EIR legislation tells you everything you need to know.
EIR is actually very specific, noting that environmental information includes:
cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions
I don't think they have a leg to stand on, and I have asked for an internal review. I have no doubt, however, that they will try to string this out as long as possible. This is probably just the start of a very long struggle.
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