HC Deb 25 May 1977 vol 932 cc474-5W
Mr. Terry Walker

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether it was his Department's intention by its Circular 45/75 to indicate to local authorities that they should, as a matter of course, release to the Press all information relating to planning applications, in order that the Press may be able to publish details before the committee considered such applications; and what steps have been taken to ensure that local authorities fully understand the intention of this circular.

Mr. Guy Barnett

Circular 45/75 stressed the need for all those concerned in local authority affairs to take postive action to ensure the maximum degree of openness in the conduct of public business. The circular recommended that local authorities should not seek to prevent newspapers publishing comments or reports in advance of meetings by means of an embargo on information they are obliged to supply under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960. This applies to planning matters as much as to other council business.

We are not aware that local authorities generally are failing to understand the intention of the circular.