16 June 2022
Request for Information – ATISN 16343
I wrote to you on 9 June regarding your request for information. You asked for the following information:
- Copies of emails, written correspondence, minutes of meetings, and decisions made, from and to and within the Department of the Economy containing the words "Gilestone Farm" and/or "Green Man".
- Copies of emails & correspondence to & from Vaughan Gething mentioning "Gilestone Farm" and/or "Green Man".
- Copies of all communications with the planning department of Powys County Council & the Beacons National Park authority.
- Has there has been any environmental study concerning Gilestone Farm.
- Copies of all valuations pertaining to Gilestone Farm.
As stated in my letter of 9 June as your request currently stands, I explained it will be very time consuming to deal with and asked you to refine your request and suggested ways for you to do so. Having not heard further from you I have considered your request as originally intended.
Requesting a broad scope of information as described with a long timeframe makes the search very difficult and time consuming. Not all the information is grouped in the same place as there are many different teams within the Economy department that would have had some sort of correspondence and/or meetings with the ‘Green Man’ over a number of years, it would similarly apply to ‘Gilestone Farm’. We would therefore have to do a wide search involving many individuals and teams. This would therefore encompass searching individual and team emails/letters/notes etc. across a number of teams within the department.
A substantial volume of the information requested is stored on our Electronic Document and Records Management System, known as iShare, and within Outlook e-mail accounts for individual officials. iShare is the corporate repository for the majority of information created and received by Welsh Government Officials in the course of their duties that must be retained for business or historical purposes. Further information about iShare can be found under Section 7 of our Information and Records Management policy, which is available on the Welsh Government website.
Documents are saved on iShare using naming conventions appropriate to the effective recording of information for our own purposes. Setting our systems in this way, and in line with our Records Management policy, enables effective delivery and will not necessarily lend themselves to being easily interrogated for generic requests for information.
A general iShare search using the search terms ‘Gilestone Farm’ and Green Man’ for the timeframe specified yielded over 10000 results. At an average estimate of one minute per result to check whether it is relevant to your request and then extracting the relevant information, it would take one official well in excess of 24hrs to complete the exercise. However it is very likely the work would extend beyond that timeframe with the various departments undertaking similar searches and when email searches are also taken into account by relevant staff members.
I have therefore concluded that it will cost more than the appropriate limit set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to deal with your request. I have therefore decided to refuse your request under Section 12 of the FoIA as to comply with it would exceed the appropriate limit.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
or Email: Freedom.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above. You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF. However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.