Office for Nuclear Regulation

FOI Act Section 14 exclusions

Date released
18 March 2021
Request number
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

Please could you provide me with a list of each FOI request refused under Section 14 of the FOI Act 2000 by year since the Act came into force?

And what Guidance is provided to ONR staff processing FOI applications to adjudicate whether a request may be deemed vexatious?

Information released

In relation to your first request, I confirm that under Section 1 of the FOIA we hold the information you requested.

Please be aware that ONR was established as a statutory Public Corporation on 1 April 2014 under the Energy Act 2013. FOI requests received prior to 2014 were processed by ONR’s predecessor, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) which was part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We conducted a search of our available historical records for NII and cannot find any records of Section 14 being applied prior to 2014.

However, since the formation of ONR, Section 14 FOIA was used in the below circumstance in 2016.

Following the publication of a report on the AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Design in November 2016 by Edinburgh Energy and Environment Consultancy, we received in the region of 400 comments from members of the public relating to the AP1000 reactor design proposed at Moorside. At that time, the deadline for making comments on the AP1000 reactor design as part of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process was 30 November 2016.

Due to the unreasonable burden it would have placed on our time and staff resources to respond to each of the 400 emails received, we followed the relevant Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidance for dealing with the disproportionate number of emails. As part of our response to the individuals, we referred them to Section 14 FOIA and directed them to a statement we issued on our website which specifically addressed the main themes raised.

In relation to your second request, I confirm that under Section 1 of the FOIA we hold the information you requested.

Our staff follow the relevant guidance from the ICO to help determine whether a FOI request should be handled as vexatious.

In addition, our staff also take into consideration the following guidance, which are published on our website:

Exemptions applied


PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable