Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Court orders Welsh Government to release withheld information on Powys Fadog project

A court has ordered the Welsh Government to release information it has withheld for over 2 years in relation to the Powys Fadog project in Llangollen. The information is contained in letters from former Labour Assembly Member Karen Sinclair to the then First Minister Rhodri Morgan. It is believed the information may explain why this renouned project was suddenly stopped at the last moment by the Labour led Welsh Government.

The Government have consistently refused to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act and were subsequently backed by the Information Commissioner. Today Judge Shanks of the Information Tribunal has ruled that the information should not have been withheld and has given the Government until 25th May to hand the information over. The Information Rights Tribunal which hears appeal cases from across the UK, is composed of the Tribunal Judge and two other non-legal members all appointed by the Lord Chancellor. In a decision noticed issued today, HH Judge Shanks states that the decision to force the Government to release the information was unanimous.

Powys Fadog chairman Pol Wong was delighted with the decision, he said: “This has been an on going battle for the last 2 years to get information we are legally entitled to, which I am certain will explain why our project was stopped. We will now finally get an answer as to why both our funding and project were stopped just days before we were due to start.”

“I maintain that our project was stopped due to prejudice and in fact, the Welsh Government have been unable to provide an explanation as to why they have stopped it. Basically they have refused to discuss the matter. The fact that we received these letters through FOI 2 years ago with several paragraphs missing, and the way that the Government have strenuously sought to prevent these paragraphs from being disclosed does make me think that they're hiding something.”

Parts of the correspondance released previously can be seen here. In her letters, Karen Sinclair levies several unfounded accusations at the group and also questions the 'need' for the level of Welsh language provision the group hope to provide in Llangollen. The group believe the redacted information due to be released next month will be the final part of the puzzle and will answer once and for all why the project was stopped.

The Welsh Government have consistently failed to explain the decision to pull the project, having refused 3 seperate calls for a public enquiry by north Wales Assembly Members and many enquiries by the media and the public. The Welsh Audit Office are also investiagting the Governments decisions in relation to the project and will be publishing their report in May.

In summing up the case, Judge Shanks said: “It is clear from the final words of the redacted paragraph and from Mr Morgan’s response that the allegation about the people involved with Powys Fadog was intended, and understood to be intended, to support the contention that the Government ought not to have negotiated with Powys Fadog in relation to River Lodge and not for any other purpose.”

“We therefore reject the contention of the Commissioner and the Government that the redacted paragraphs were outside the terms of Mr Wong’s request for information. It follows that we allow the appeal and issue a substituted decision notice requiring the Government to disclose them to Mr Wong. Our decision is unanimous.”

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mi oddwn i am bleidlesio dros Plaid tro ma ond yn gynta, dwi ddim di weld yr un blog yn yr iaith gymraeg sy'n fy siomi'n fawr. Yn ail, ar ol edrych ar y wefan hon am bythefnos I trio ffeindio allan am be mae'r plaid yn sefyll am yr unig beth dwi di weld ydi y parti yn deud petha drwg am bobl a partioedd eraill... A dwi dal ddim yn gwbod am be mae'r parti'n sefyll am.
Wedyn welish I bod yr unig sylwadau sy'n cael i adal ar y wefan yw'r rhai sy'n deud petha da yn unig am plaid llafur. Democratic? dwi ddim yn meddwl. A dwi'n tybio na fydd y sylwad hon yn ymddangos ar y wefan.

Wedi i'n adael lawr yn fawr iawn. yn anffodus i chi, Llafur sy'n cael fy mhleidlais i

Local Concerned! said...

The truth needs to come out.

There is something about this that has never felt right.

The proposed project seemed well balanced and sound, so what led to the problems?

Hopefully, we can now find out the real truth!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant result...I will say no more but to say that ex AM Karen Sinclair will have some sleepless nights!

Anonymous said...

Nice photo!

MH said...

I'm delighted to hear this news. I had a good chat with Pol at Plaid's Spring Conference, and heard quite a bit about the whole sorry tale.

I only wish the judgement had come a few weeks earlier so that the information would have to be released before next week's local elections. But I hope Pol will win the seat he's fighting for in Rhiwabon anyway.

Sara Williams said...

Well done for your tenacity, I hope you get the answers you justly deserve

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Mae 5 blog yn Gymraeg ers Dolig!
Ynglyn a'n polisiau, mae nifer o daflenni a chylchlythyrau wedi ei cyhoeddi yn y 12 ward ryda ni'n sefyll ac hefyd mae na wefan ar ganol cael ei hadeiladu yma

Cyhoeddwyd hwn ar Wales Online yn ddiweddar:

Plaid Cymru leader Marc Jones said a key pledge was to source Wrexham council contracts with Welsh firms.

“The party’s main focus is on creating work, by ensuring 75% of council contracts are sourced to Welsh firms, thereby creating more work locally,” said Coun Jones.

“They will also create council traineeships for unemployed youngsters.

“Another key issue is affordable housing, with the party pledging to win back the £11.2m siphoned off by the UK Treasury from Wrexham each year.

“This, they say, would enable the council to build new homes, buy empty private homes and renovate existing housing.”

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/wrexham/2012/04/25/wrexham-plaid-cymru-leader-marc-jones-91466-30832712/#ixzz1t87VJD8Z

Plaid Whitegate said...

Chwerthinllyd clywed fod rhyw Anon yn poeni cymaint am yr iaith fel bod Llafur - plaid sy wedi cynhyrchu taflenni uniaith Saesneg ac wedi gwrthwynebu ysgol Gymraeg newydd yn Wrecsam - yn cael ei bleidlais. Mmm...

Pol said...

In March 2010, Whilst extra ,extra approval (Ministerial approval)was being waited for and after writing to Rhodri Morgan, Karen Sinclair then writes to Labour Minister for Health Edwina Hart(see link below)......Keep following this thread and find out what happened next. ~It is truly disturbing even Labour supporters I'm sure will agree.

https://picasaweb.google.com/111501544944561056590/KarenSinclairToRhodriMorgan

Pol said...

Sorry the last link was KS's letter to Rhodri,here is the one to the Edwina Hart letter.As I said keep your eye on this .It gets alot better!
https://picasaweb.google.com/111501544944561056590/KarenSinclairToEdwinaHartAndJaneHutt

Pol said...

Sorry meant to post this link in the last post...
https://picasaweb.google.com/111501544944561056590/KarenSinclairToEdwinaHartAndJaneHutt#

chris sheng said...

Excellent pol am very happy for you, you deserve that for all the hard work you put in to that project well in lad