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Viability in planning — the environmental information regime

By Roy Pinnock

The recent First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) (Information Rights) decision on disclosure of key parts of Lend Lease’s Heygate Estate viability appraisal illustrates the important differences between the Environmental Information and Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 regimes. The differences are significant for applicants and public-private joint ventures, where thought is needed on preventing unecessary information leakage.

Both the FOI Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 give rights of public access to information held by public authorities. The differences are worth noting:

The EIR implement European Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information, which follows and expands on the 1998 Aarhus Convention. The convention’s primary goal is to increase the quality and extent of public involvement in and scrutiny of decisions on the environment. The EIR regime must be approached in that light…

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