Annex A - FOI-22-4587
Regulation 12(4)(b) - Manifestly unreasonable requests
Regulation 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the ‘Regulations)
sets out that a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that the
request for information is ‘manifestly unreasonable’. A request may be manifestly
unreasonable if dealing with the request would create unreasonable costs or involve an
unreasonable diversion of resources.
Please refer to the link below which sets out the legislation in full: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3391/regulation/12/made
All exceptions under the Regulations are subject to a Public Interest Test (PIT) which
means that we need to consider whether “in all circumstances of the case, the public
interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information”. We have weighed up the benefits to the public of releasing the
information against the factors for not releasing it. We consider that the factors for
not releasing the information outweigh those for disclosure. Please find below full
details of our considerations:
Public interest in disclosure
• Disclosure of information would provide greater transparency, visibility and
accountability of public bodies.
Public interest in maintaining the exception
• We estimate that we would need to manually review records relating to
approximately 6,000 plots in order to identify whether these contained
information relevant to the request, and if they did, we would then have to
extract the information in order to respond to your request.
• Such an undertaking is a lengthy process which would require the diversion of
resources away from their usual business in order to comply with the request.
This would result in considerable cost to HS2 Ltd and be an inappropriate
diversion of resources.
• There is a strong public interest in ensuring that public funds are expended
proportionately, the diversion of resources and the cost to comply with this
request exceed that which is reasonable.
Annex A - FOI-22-4587
The issues of transparency and accountability are noted. However, on balance it is
considered that the public interest in providing the information is outweighed by the
potential impact dealing with the request would have on the resources available to
There is a strong public interest in ensuring HS2 Ltd can secure the best value outcome
for the taxpayer and that all resources are used appropriately.
Therefore, it is considered that in this instance, at this time, to comply with this request
for information would place a disproportionate burden on HS2 Ltd. I encourage you to
work with HS2 Ltd to identify a relevant search that would not place a disproportionate
burden on HS2 Ltd’s resources.