I should like to take this opportunity to make an enquiry under the Freedom of Information Act/Environmental Information Regulations.
Would you please answer the following questions?
Does your Council have an electronic land charges register? Yes/No.
How long does it take someone familiar with your electronic system to conduct an electronic land charge register search of a property in an average numbered residential street?
Are the general public and the private sector allowed access to it? Yes/No
Do the general public and private sector have the same rights of unrestricted access and document production as Council employees? Yes /No
What are all the differences in the manner of accessing and copying land charge register information enjoyed by the general public and private sector in comparison with Council employees?
Are the same photocopying and printing facilities available to the general public for the production of copy environmental information as to the Council? Yes/No
Have the Markinson charging provisions for copying environmental information been accepted and followed by the Council? Yes/No
Is the Markinson 10p photocopying charge cost effective for the Council to collect Yes/No
Is the Markinson charge waived? Yes/No
Thank you for your request for information via e-mail dated 12 July. This request is being handled under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). As far as the Council can establish from the information contained in your letter, none of the information requested is
environmental information. I am therefore writing to inform you that the Council do not consider that this request is a request for information under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
I enclose herewith a copy of the EIR and would draw you attention to the wording of Regulation 2(1) of the EIR, which contains the definition of “environmental information” which defines the meaning of what is environmental information. It is the Council’s opinion that the information which you seek does not fall within any of definitions contained in Regulation 2(1)(a) – (d) inclusive, as the information requested is not “Environmental Information” as defined under Regulation 2(1)(a) – (d) under the EIR.
In relation to the information requested under the FOIA,I respond as follows:
I confirm that the Council has an electronic local land charges register (LLCR). In relation to your question “how long does it take someone familiar with your electronic system to conduct an electronic land charge register search of a property in an average numbered residential street” the Council are unable to provide information on such a
request, particularly as the word “familiar” is open to interpretation and will vary from person to person carrying out such a search on a case by case basis. I confirm that the public and private sector have access to the LLCR and can seek access to documents, for example, access to planning permissions/tree preservations orders, etc
upon request. There may be some documents that contain personal information and which may require, for example, redaction by the Council to comply with the Data Protection Act, before production of such document to the public and/or private sector. Once again, it will depend on what document(s) is/are being requested. And this will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
In response to your question “Are the same photocopying and printing facilities available to the general public for the production of copy environmental information as to the Council? Yes/No”, the answer is “no”. You asked further “Have the Markinson charging provisions for copying environmental information been accepted and followed by the Council? Yes/No. I assume that you are referring to the charging of £0.10 per sheet for photocopying. I confirm the answer is “no”. In relation to the next question “Is the Markinson 10p photocopying charge costs effective for the Council to collect Yes/No”. The Council consider that this is not a request for information, as it appears that you are seeking an opinion from the Council. The Council confirms that is does not hold such information on an opinion. Your final question “Is the Markinson charge waived? Yes/No. Again, I assume that you are asking if the Council makes no charge for photocopying. The Council does make a charge for photocopying and/or copy documentation. I refer you to the Council’s document charging policy at http://www.brentwood.gov.uk/index.php?cid=546 which covers charges in relation to planning documentation.