LOCH Lomond and the Trossach National Park Authority has said Freedom of Information (FOI) laws are being “misused” to “denigrate public authorities and their staff”.

In a submission to the Scottish Government on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, the authority, which is currently deliberating over the £30 million ‘Lomond Banks’ development proposal in Balloch, took aim at the law.

Under the legislation, members of the public can apply to public authorities for information.

The Scottish Government’s post legislative scrutiny committee is looking at whether the law needs to be reformed, and has had 55 responses to a consultation by public bodies, politicians and journalists with their thoughts.

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In its response, the National Park Authority (NPA), said there had been “misuse of the process by some individuals who have actively harassed public authorities, deluging them with repeated requests on the same subject”.

The submission also said there was “misuse of information by the public who are not required to state how they will use the information and choose to use the information they are given to denigrate public authorities and their staff”.

The submission also stated that staff could feel “stuck between demanding requesters pressing for information to be released” and colleagues “asking for the use of exemptions to withhold information”.

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Committee members have also asked for views on what could be done to strengthen the current laws.

The author of the submission said the government should look into the use of the “vexatious provision”.

The initial legislation states that public authorities do not have to comply with requests which are deemed to be vexatious.

The submission said it would be worth the government looking for a “halfway house”, which would not deny the public their rights to information, but would mitigate the effects of repeated requests from the same individuals on the same issue, “which have the effect of harassing an authority”.

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A spokeswoman for the national park authority told the Advertiser: “We fully support the intent of the Freedom of Information legislation and are continuously looking at ways to improve transparency and how we can publish more information for the public to access.

“However, there have been occasions when a high volume of requests has had a significant impact on staff time and resources to compile all the information requested.”