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Prince’s Duchy exposed to public scrutiny under EIR

The Prince’s Duchy of Cornwall is to be considered a public authority, according to a ruling from a tribunal on information rights, it emerged yesterday.

Following the public outcry about Prince Charles’ secret vetoing of House of Commons bills, the tribunal decided that the Duchy is subject to the Environmental Regulations Act 2004, which requests public authorities to disclose environmental information.

According to the Guardian, John Angel who was the tribunal’s principal judge, deemed the duchy is a public authority because it effectively provided public funding to the Prince of Wales.

The Telegraph reports the decision came after a three-year legal battle by a local environmental campaigner, Michael Bruton, who asked for the disclosure of information relating to the Duchy’s oyster farm at Port Navas, Cornwall.

Mr Bruton had submitted a FoIA request enquiring about any environmental assessment carried out by the Duchy but its lawyers had refused. A recent statement from the solicitor, Harrison Grand in the Times reads: “The Prince had contended that the land was his to do with as he liked and that ‘the Duchy is not democratically accountable in any meaningful sense.’”

The Independent stressed that through this decision the First-tier Tribunal has decreed that the Prince can no longer be guaranteed confidentiality for the Duchy’s activities.

The Duchy has 28 days to disclose the information or give reasons why it should be exempt from the legislation.

Anti-monarchy campaign group Republic welcomed the tribunal’s decision saying: “Prince Charles does try to have it both ways, being a public figure and, when it suits him, a private enterprise.”

Welsh assembly security seizes bullets and knuckle dusters 

An FoIA request filed by the BBC Radio Wales to the Welsh assembly revealed knuckle dusters, CS gas and a bullet were among the items confiscated from visitors.

Flexible working legislation fears were unfounded

Despite the original fears, the extension of the flexible working legislation won’t cause problems to employers, data released from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveal. As the Guardian reports, a FoIA disclosed that from a total of 218,100 claims in 2010-11, just 277 alleged that employers had failed to observe flexible working regulations.

Lancashire council pays millions in liability claims

Figures released under the FoIA, show employer liability claims to Lancashire County Council in the last five years have cost almost £2m. According to the Lancashire Evening Post, claims include £5,500 paid to a worker who fell out of bed responding to a phone call or £9,575 for an employee who injured his back putting paper in a printer.

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