Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Letter: Let the secrets out

Sir: It is not correct to say that the 30-year rule on public records was devised during the Cold War "to stop secrets being revealed".

The 30-year rule introduced in 1967 was a relaxation of the 50-year rule established in 1958 by the Public Records Act. Before this, there was no period after which public records had to be released in the Public Record Office at all. Both rules represented increasing openness. But any documents judged to be still secret at 50, or 30, years were (and are) exempted from disclosure.