FOI Request - Review of Phone Mast Access/Rental Agreements

Request 101001256124

[Re FOI 101001237308]

I'd like to appeal on the basis that the commercial interest isn't as strong as you've stated and that the Public Interest test has also not been duly considered. Please see below for reasoning

Commercial interest

   Mast sites are incredibly limited - it is unlikely other locations will meet the required coverage metrics
   Moving a mast is incredibly expensive - it requires calibration of all surrounding sites, expenditure on installation and restoring the original site and securing planning permission - it is not feasible for MNOs to move because they receive a better offer.
   MNOs already share the cost data through their industry body - (Mobile Operators Association)
    Over 30 other councils have already supplied the information requested - thus suggesting their commercial interest assessments found in the request's favour

Public interest

   We have evidence that councils are receiving substantially less per site than the industry average. This represents poor value for money for the tax payer
   Legal evidence from court cases shows that networks have a history of failing to pay these rental agreements, this would represent poor value for money for the tax payer
   The industry's estimates on mast cost were used as the basis for ECC rule changes enacted last month which would give stronger bargaining rights over rental rates. We believe the figures were incorrect and that the release of these agreements would show the following points: A, MNOs misled the government to get the ECC changes agreed. B, the changes by governments are set to lose local councils across the UK millions of pounds per year. There is a strong public interest in revealing this.

Response 09-08-2016

Following your request for a review of our response to FOI 101001237308, a review meeting was held at the Council offices on August 9th 2016. In attendance were the Records and Heritage Manager, Senior Solicitor, Estates Manager and Information Co-ordinator.

Upon receiving clarification, we can advise that the rental income from the named sites is available from the Registers of Scotland within the lease agreements, therefore this information is exempt under Section 25(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please find a link to their website here. We can confirm that there have been no debts in relation to these leases, therefore rental income is as stated within each lease.

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