Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations.

Anyone can request information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live.

Your request will be handled under different regulations depending on the kind of information you ask for, eg the:

We could refuse your request if the information is sensitive or the costs are too high.

Before you make a request

You might not need to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to get the information you need.

We might be able to give you information straight away, eg over the phone. 

How to make an FOI request

Contact us in writing to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. This can be by:

onlineFreedom of Information request form
letterGovernment Relations Officer,
Banna Court,
Westlakes Science and Technology Park,
Ingwell Drive,
Moor Row,
Cumbria, CA28 3HW
phoneSwitchboard (+44) 019467 28333
General Enquiries and Freedom of Information (FOI) requests (+44) 019467 75656

What to include

You should give:

  • your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
  • a contact address
  • a detailed description of the information you want - eg you might want all information held on a subject, or just a summary

You can ask for information in a particular format, eg:

  • paper or electronic copies of information
  • audio format
  • large print

When you’ll get a response

You should get the information within 20 working days. We will tell you when to expect the information if we need more time.


Most requests are free but you might be asked to pay a small amount for photocopies or postage. You’ll be told if you have to pay anything.

If your request is turned down

Some sensitive information isn’t available to members of the public. If this applies, we must tell you why they can’t give you some or all of the information you requested.

We might ask you to be more specific so we can provide just the information you need.

We can also refuse your Freedom of Information (FOI) request if it will cost more than £450 (£600 for central government) to find and extract the information.

Reviews and complaints

If we do not provide you with the information you requested, you should first ask us to review our decision. Please contact

You can then complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you’re still not satisfied.