Lords hear complaints about access to information regime

Public access to environmental information is being thwarted by alleged abuses by official bodies of statutory exemptions from disclosure and continuing doubts about which bodies are subject to legal disclosure requirements, a House of Lords inquiry has been told. An effective mechanism for appeals against non-disclosure is urgently needed, according to campaigners. The Government promised an appeals tribunal three years ago, but is now considering a different body. Meanwhile, there are signs that the pressure being exerted by the Government on agencies and research institutes to contract out work and offset reductions in their core funding by selling information is making environmental information more expensive - and putting the health of UK science at risk.

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