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Confidentiality of Historic Environment Record information and Data Protection

Historic Environment Record (HER) information may be withheld in some circumstances. How we treat the information you give us.


We may refuse an enquiry when:

  • the enquiry is (from our point of view) unmanageable because it covers a large area, or is so unstructured that we would have to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with it
  • the enquirer is unable or unwilling to provide sufficient information for the purpose of their enquiry to be understood
  • we have good reason to believe that the aim of the enquiry is to identify sites in order deliberately to damage them
  • we can't answer the question. For example, we often find it quite difficult to deal with enquiries asking for information on finds (artefacts) of a particular type or material because our computerised records aren't sufficiently detailed

To put this in perspective, we can't remember the last time this arose! In practice, we hardly ever refuse enquiries. It is usually possible to deal with our concerns by providing more information or submitting a more focused enquiry.

Confidentiality and data protection

Access to information held in the HER is available under the provision of Section 141 (1) of the 1972 Local Government Act and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Dorset Council supports the objectives of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Some information may be withheld because of its nature and the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, we cannot provide information about the owners or occupiers of particular monuments or areas. On occasion, in very special circumstances, we may approach landowners on an enquirer's behalf. You should not expect us to do this as a matter of course.

Access to all or part of the information requested may be refused in certain circumstances. Information may not be disclosed if:

  • it relates to the subject matter of any legal or other proceedings, actual or prospective (including Local Planning Inquiries)
  • it relates to confidential, internal communications of Dorset Council
  • it is contained in a document or other record which is still in the course of completion
  • it was supplied to the council by another party who was under no legal obligation to do so and could not have been put under any legal obligation to supply it and has not consented to its disclosure
  • its disclosure would increase the likelihood of damage to the environment affecting anything to which the information relates

Information about HER users and enquiries

Dorset Council is committed to compliance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, personal information you give us will be held securely and used only for the purpose for which it is collected. In the case of Historic Environment Record enquiries, we'll process your enquiry and keep the information on file for a while in case you get back to us with a query or supplementary enquiry. Some of the information will be used to assemble very basic statistics about HER use and users for each year. Shortly after the end of each year we 'weed out' our enquiries file and dispose of personal details. The precise timing of this depends on our workload but we aim to do it within three months.

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General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.