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Fees and exemptions

Find out more about exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, and fees we may charge you for some information requests.

Although the Freedom of Information Act provides a general right of access to information held by the council, there are 23 exemptions whereby we might need to withhold information.

What is exempt

Here are some examples of the exemptions: 

  • Personal data relating to people other than yourself generally cannot be released, as it would be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. If you wish to access information about yourself, you may use your rights under this Act and make a Subject Access Request.
  • If the information you require is already in the public domain and therefore reasonably accessible, you will be directed there in the first instance. We try to make frequently requested information available in our Publication Scheme.
  • Certain information relating to national security, information that would prejudice international relations, commercially sensitive information and confidential information may be exempt.

View the full list of exemptions.

Appealing against exemptions applied by the council 

The Act is monitored by the Information Commissioner, an independent public regulator. However, should you wish to raise an objection to the council's response to your request, you should first make a formal complaint to the council itself. If you are still dissatisfied with the council response to your complaint, you can escalate this to the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

To make a complaint to regarding a Freedom of Information Act or, Environmental Information Regulation Request, please email


The council makes as much information available as possible electronically, using the council’s website. Access to the council’s website and the information contained on it is free of charge. It is also free to make a Freedom of Information request. However, we may charge you for disbursements if these exceed £25.

Our disbursement charges are:

  • Photocopying (black and white): 10p a sheet (any size)
  • Printing (black and white): 10p a sheet (any size)
  • Photocopying (colour): 30p a sheet (any size)
  • Printing (colour): 30p (any size)
  • Converting to electronic format: depends on costs charged to the council
  • Postal costs will be charged in addition and will be based on current Royal Mail costs (which are subject to variation).

It is our policy to charge disbursement costs only when they reach £25 or over.

Cost of preparation

If the costs of preparation are over £450 we will either not supply the information under Section 12 of the FOIA or we will charge for the costs of preparation in addition to the cost of disbursements, at the requester’s discretion.


If we consider that a charge is appropriate, we will notify you in a Fees Notice. You will then have the choice of paying it or withdrawing your request. If we do not hear from you after a month, we will treat the request as withdrawn.

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Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.