How we source the facts and figures
The Freedom of Information Act gives members of the public the right to ask any public body for all the information they have on any subject you choose. Unless there’s a good reason, the organisation must provide the information within 20 working days.
Members of the South Hook Noise Group have requested various statistics, including the number of complaints received by Pembrokeshire County Council about vessels berthed at the South Hook LNG Terminal, and about the Statutory Nuisances witnessed by the Port Health Officers when dealing with complaints made by members of the public.
Members of the public can ask for any information at all - but some information might be withheld to protect various interests which are allowed for by the Act. If this is case, the public authority must tell you why they have withheld information.
On a number of recent requests, our Freedom of Information Act requests have been refused, under the following exemption.
The information you have requested is excepted by virtue of reg 12(5)(b): (5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect— (b)the course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature;
The Public Interest Test has been applied, and in this case, it is felt that the public interest in withholding the information exceeds the public interest in its release.
At this point, we asked for the request to be re-considered, as we did not feel that the Public Interest Test should have been applied - taking into account the Ships Owners and Operators would have been made aware that Statutory Nuisance was witnessed by Port Health Officers of Pembrokeshire County Council on each occasion, and that the local residents should be made aware that this is the case, and that witholding the information has no benefit to the public whatsoever.
The information was released on the second request when it was indicated an official complaint would be made to the Council, and that if it was not resolved at this level that we would ask for a further review by the Information Commisioner under S50 of the Act.
The South Hook Ship Noise Community Group has maintained a full audit trail of all information requested under Freedom of Information, and all information published on the site has been obtained legally.
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