Earlier this year I appealed to the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information, arguing that the National Asset Management Agency was a public authority for the purposes of the European Environmental Information Regulations. The OCEI has sent me their preliminary view, were they agree with NAMA, that it is not a “public authority”.
Here is the letter. If any of you eagle eyed readers (or legal eagles amongst you) want to comment on the preliminary view, then please contact me or leave a comment. I have four weeks in which to reply before a binding decision is made.
9 thoughts on “NAMA status”
I think that NAMA is a public authority as it is carrying out the duties thrust upon it by the Act which set it up. The duties may be commercial, mainly, in nature but so are those of the Board of Works etc which holds property for the use of government. The fact that one holds sells or buys for the benefit of the government is very similar to NAMA, in that it does the same in accordance with the constituting Act. Property information clearly has an environmental element.
Very adroit, Gavin. Court case probably. Good luck! Just because they want it kept quiet does not mean it is suspect….? Do you wish to jeopardize the sale of these assets? There will be pressure applied along those lines…
Heather Brooke (the UK-based journalist/FOI/openness campaigner and all-round good egg) has a section on the EIR regs in her book Your Right To Know (2007 edition).
Definition of a public authority is in Article 2(2) of the EC directive – the book section specifies “government, public administration and public advisory groups at national, regional and local level including those that do not have specific responsibilities for the environment.”
“It also includes individuals and other groups performing public administrative functions or providing public services in relation to the environment”
I’ll also add a link to this academic article from University of Munich which may help.
Fraid being based in Wales I don’t know much about NAMA, but hope this helps.
Thanks Glyn, I’ve been through a number of UK commissioner decisions around the issue of definitions, but will follow up on this with a few people.
“State commercial activity” / “economic agent(s)” are covered under AIE – otherwise why on earth are all the semi-State companies explicitly named under AIE?
And Nama’s claim that “specifically it does not carry out duties, activities or services relating to the environment” completely misunderstands AIE. Environmental under AIE is somewhat like the same word under Environmental Impact Statements — very wide-ranging. Where do you start here?
Land and what happens to land is clearly included under “environmental”, Nama was set up to control land.
Nama has the potential to have a profound impact on half built sites where construction has stalled and on current unused land, this covers what happens to “water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components” etc.
Nama’s actions have the potential to spur construction on its lands. Construction affects the air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, and the landscape, and construction affects factors such as noise, and waste.
Policy of Nama is “likely to affect the elements and factors referred to” in the AIE SI.
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