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Noise Recording

Requested on
Wed 23rd July, 2014
Reference
FOI 4720
Resolution
Information provided

Question

I am also requesting a copy of the Noise recordings under the Freedom of Information Act.

Answer

Following receipt of your information request the Council has, as required by the Freedom of Information Act (the Act), undertaken an assessment to ascertain if any of the exemptions provided by the Act apply to the information that you have requested.
Having completed this assessment we have concluded that the information you requested, i.e. the recording made regarding a noise nuisance, is exempt from disclosure under Section 30 of the Act and we will not, therefore, be able to supply it.
Section 30 of the Act covers investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities. Section 30(1) (a) states “Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it has at any time been held by the authority for the purposes of any investigation which the public authority has a duty to conduct”
As Section 30 is a qualified exemption, we are also required to decide, on a case by case basis, whether the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in its disclosure. The Information Commissioner has suggested that the factors that would weigh in favour of disclosure would include:
 Furthering the understanding and participation in the public debate of issues of the day.
 Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them.
 Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money.
 Allowing individuals, companies and other bodies to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives.
 Bringing to light information affecting public health and safety.

Given the nature of the exemption we are applying in this case it is our opinion that none of these factors weigh in favour of the public interest over maintaining the exemption.  We appreciate that the recording is of interest to you, however once information is released under the Freedom of Information Act, it is seen as publically available, and the Council can no longer control who has access to this information.  Disclosure of this information whilst an investigation is still being carried out may prejudice the outcome; therefore we are unable to supply it.

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