The Appellant made a request for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 for information needed to answer a local register search form CON20R. The local authority refused on the basis that the request was not a request for information but was a request that required the evaluation of existing recorded information to see what as needed to fill in a form and then to produce new recorded information that achieved that purpose. The Information Commissioner allowed the applicant’s appeal and the Council appealed from that to the Tribunal.
In the Tribunal, the Council argued that there is nothing in the Directive, the EIR or the FOIA that requires a public authority: (a) to research the information that it holds so as to identify which of that information will achieve a particular purpose or serve a particular function; or (b) to record in material form information which it has that is not, at the time that the request is received, recorded in any material form. Under both FOIA and the EIR, a valid request for information identifies the information requested sought by the content (actual or imputed) of the information or the class of that information. A request that identifies the information sought by the ability to use that information to achieve a purpose or to serve a function is not a valid request for information under either FOIA or the EIR .
The Tribunal rejected the appeal.