Exeter’s self proclaimed Freedom of Information (FOI) Campaigner had a moral victory recently when the the Information Commissioner overturned a rejection order made by the Met Office. Alan M Dransfield, 62, had submitted a FOI request for technical data to the Met Office, which the Met Office had refused under Section 12(5) of the FOI Act 2000 claiming exemption under National Security, International Relations, Defence and Health & Safety.

Dransfield was delighted with the ICO decision which had restored his faith somewhat in the FOI Justice System. He feels that the Met Office refusal under National Security etc was absurd, and he considers they were using National Security etc as an excuse to circumvent the FOI Act 2000.

The Met Office now has 30 days to provide Dransfield with the technical data he had requested or they will be reported for Contempt of Court by the ICO.

Dransfield has held concerns for public safety and the public purse because he maintains the Met Office has not been provisioned with adequate Lightning Protection Systems (LPS). Hence, he has made a FOI request directly to the Met Office. He now claims the information will prove or disprove his assertions.

Dransfield is currently awaiting to hear from the Court of Appeal on another FOI related case which involves the Sandy Park Pedestrian Bridge which he claims is also lacking adequate LPS. In January of this year the FOI Upper Tribunal confirmed Dransfield FOI request was vexatious. Full details of the Upper Tribunal are available in the public domain under GIA/3037/2011. Devon County Council had appealed against an earlier First Tier Tribunal (FTT) decsion which had found in Dransfield’s favour and ordered Devon County Council (DCC) to release the LPS data.

This case is currently awaiting application to the Court of Appeal after 4 years of FOI Hearings.

Dransfield is due to appear before the FTT again in July on a FOI Case involving the 6 Private Finance Initiative schools in which he is seeking Health & Safety data on the schools which the DCC have refused claiming Dransfield is vexatious. How can a FOI request for H&S issues be classed as vexatious; why don’t the DCC provide me with the information I am seeking? It would be far cheaper for them to provide data than undertake expensive legal redress to justify their FOI refusal under Section 14(1) vexatious.”. He claims the July hearing will be third retrial of the PFI schools case.