WHAT DID WE ASK?
Could you please provide me with information concerning this group
in terms of
(i) it’s terms of reference and role
(ii) Membership (who and from which organisations sit on the group)
(iii) minutes of meetings held so far.
There is little information currently available on the DEFRA website about the role of this group.
WHY DID WE ASK THIS?
I was told by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency that the posioning of wildfowl at Rattlechain was raised as an issue at at least one meeting, with the VLA being a member of the CHaIRS group. We wanted to know more about this group, with no information available at the time about what it did.
WHAT DID THEY KNOW?
A response was received from the FSA having been forwarded from DEFRA. The letter confirms that they provided the seretariat for the group. Read this here.
A final letter stated
“Following careful consideration of your request, we are able to provide you with the attached papers, as follows:
CHaIRS terms of reference and membership (revised March 2010) Click here
Notes of all the six CHaIRS meetings held so far (Click to view)
and draft notes 23/2/10.
Please note that some text within the meeting notes have been redacted in accordance with Section 31,2 of the FOI Act, on the basis that this relates to ongoing incidents where disclosure may prejudice the investigation. Where information has been redacted, this is clearly shown within the notes.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The terms of reference and membership of the group had not previously been public material. However the supplied minutes were a major dissapointment in their heavy redaction. They contained no reference to Rattlechain at all and therefore we suspected that any reference to the site must have therefore been in the redacted sections. We wanted these unredacted sections! We would not accept the reasons for witholding any information concerning the poisoning of wildfowl by white phosphorus an Rattlechain lagoon. We therefore challenged this response by asking another FOI question.