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“Mr Silverman’s campaign was a decent worthwhile campaign with a serious aim and purpose which was of general benefit to the whole community”.

The Highways Agency had refused four information requests made by me  in April / May 2012 on the ground that they were “manifestly unreasonable” under Regulation 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations. This decision was upheld by the Information Commissioner. My appeal to the Information Tribunal was to get this overturned.

The Tribunal Decision by Judge Angus Hamilton stated:

Mr Silverman’s campaign was a decent worthwhile campaign with a serious aim and purpose which was of general benefit to the whole community.” (19)

“.. that there were no issues around Mr Silverman’s purpose in making the requests, the serious purpose of the requests or the harassment or distress of the public authority’s staff that could lead to a conclusion that the requests were manifestly unreasonable“. (20)

Referring to the  completion of the requests he wrote  “..that on balance that the time it would take could not be properly characterised as placing an unreasonable burden on the public authority“. (23)

There are only 13 FOIA or EIR applications over a period of two and a half years. The Tribunal did not consider, on balance, that this was excessive in light of the worthwhile nature of Mr Silverman’s campaign.” (25)

The Tribunal also wish to comment that they did not agree with the Commissioner’s conclusion that the Highways Agency had provided Mr Silverman with advice and assistance to enable him to modify his requests to make them less burdensome”. (30)

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 Peter Silverman
17th July 2013

 

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