Since the Freedom of Information Act came into force, the Department has not received any payment for the provision of information under the Act, nor for answering requests under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The Freedom of Information Act allows for public authorities to determine when the cost of processing a request will exceed the appropriate limit, which for central Government are set at £600 and for the wider public sector £450. In this instance the public authority may decide to either approach the applicant to help them refine their request and where possible to bring it under the appropriate limit. Alternatively, public authorities may charge the applicant the cost of processing the request. There is, however, no obligation for Departments to provide information if the cost of processing the request exceeds the appropriate limit.
Public authorities may also charge for disbursements when handling requests where it is deemed appropriate. Further information on the FOI fees regime can be found on the DCA website at http://www.foi.gov.uk/feesguide.htm.