Correspondence and documents relating to the M56-A6 Manchester Aiport Link road

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council,

I am writing under Freedom of Information legislation to ask for the following information to be released. The information all relates to proposals for a M56/A6 Link road (also known as ‘New link road to Manchester Airport’) as announced in the recent Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I understand that parts of the information requested may be commercially sensitive, and would be prepared for personal details and some data related to private companies to be redacted if absolutely necessary and in the public interest. However, I believe it is in the public interest to release information relating to decisions that involve the spending of public money, especially where the consequences of these decisions will affect the operation of public roads, and public health and wellbeing.

Please note that local authorities and the Department for Transport have made exactly comparable information publicly available as part of the recent ‘Development Pool’ process, where all Transport Business Case, funding and traffic modelling information was required to be released unredacted by local authorities bidding for DfT funding. (see here for more details and a downloadable word document that gives links to all the documents, as released by local authorities: http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/local...)

My request consists of five parts:

1. Copies of all correspondence during 2011 between Stockport MBC and any of the bodies listed below relating to proposals for a M56/A6 Link road (known as ‘New link road to Manchester Airport’ in the Treasury Autumn Statement).
a. the Treasury
b. Manchester Airports Group
c. the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (or any of the constituent local authorities)
d. Transport for Greater Manchester
e. the Department for Transport

2. If you hold it, a copy of the most recent 5-part Transport Business Case for this road (http://www2.dft.gov.uk/about/howthedftwo...), including the appraisal summary table (http://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag/documents/p...) and all documents associated with the detailed cost-benefit analysis and traffic and transport modelling carried out in the construction of the Business Case. If a full Transport Business Case has not been prepared, please supply any comparable information you hold that was prepared or submitted to the Treasury during 2011.

3. A copy of the most recent assessment of the environmental impact of the road (this may be included in the documents released in answer to part 2)

4. A copy of the most recent breakdown of the funding for the road, including contributions by the Treasury (as announced in the Autumn Statement) or DfT, Manchester Airports Group, any of the local authorities within Greater Manchester, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Transport for Greater Manchester, and any other third parties.

5. Copies of any agreements signed since 2007 by any of the parties named in part 4 in respect of the funding or management of this road.

Yours faithfully,

Sian Berry

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Ms Berry,

 

Thank you for your request for information below which has been given
reference FOI 5098. Please quote this on any correspondence regarding your
request.

 

Stockport Council will respond to your request within 20 working days. If
there will be a charge for disbursements e.g. photocopying in order to
provide the information, we will inform you as soon as possible to see if
you wish to proceed; however such charges are usually waived if they
amount to less than £10.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Corporate Information Services

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Sheila Oliver (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Sian

About two weeks ago Mark Hunter MP, Dave Goddard, Leader of Stockport Council, Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Stockport Council met with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander on a Monday to "push for the work to go ahead as soon as possible" according to our wonderful local newspaper The Stockport Express. Mark Hunter, Dave Goddard and Danny Alexander are all LibDems. This road is a vote winner in the area for the LibDems, although official LibDem policy is to oppose all roadbuilding.

They would appear to be acting against their party's principles. Who would have thought it! Mark Hunter, Andrew Stunell MP and Dave Goddard were the team who previously pushed for the £1 billion bypass under PFI, and we know from the Treasury Select Committee and the excellent recent Panorama programme on PFI projects, just what a disaster for the town their earlier plans for the bypass would have been.

There are potentially huge problems with flooding and mining subsidence in this area. If those sort of problems are not addressed at the outset, then we have incidences like the M60 Denton to Middleton Section which ends up circa £250 million overbudget. If they start this road and then encounter unexpected flooding and mining problems, where on earth is the magic porridge pot of funding nowadays?

No-one should be spending large amounts of public money unnecessarily, especially in these straightened times, to win votes, which is why we should check every detail minutely.

Kind regards

Sheila

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Ms Berry,

 

I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 5098).

 

The response to your request has been prepared by the relevant Council
service and is as follows:

 

The M56/A6 Link Road which you refer to is also known by Stockport Council
(which is leading the project team for its development on behalf of the
other two highway authorities – Cheshire East and Manchester City
Councils) as the SEMMMS A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road.

 

1.     Your request for copies of correspondence with organisations listed
would be very time consuming for officers to comply with. Within the
Council and the project team - which includes consultants working on our
behalf - over thirty people have had some involvement with the scheme in
2011. All these individuals would need to search any files they hold to
comply with this request. On this basis, we cannot comply with this aspect
of your request because carrying out such a search is considered to be
manifestly unreasonable under Regulation 12(4)(b) Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). It is not in the public interest to
carry out such an extensive search because of the time it would take for
all these officers to search their files and electronic folders to find
the information you request; and the usefulness of the information found
e.g. a number of emails may be exchanged just to arrange a meeting. It is
not believed that the benefit of the information that could be provided is
worth the cost of undertaking the work your request would require. If you
could refine your request to be more specific regarding the information
you require this may enable us to provide you with the information.

 

2.     The project team is still completing the business case and it is
anticipated that the business case will be completed and published later
this year during 2012. The business case and the information and data
which will constitute the final document are unfinished and data is
incomplete. On this basis, the information will not be provided at this
time under Regulation 12(4)(d) EIRs as it is not in the public interest to
publish this unfinished document. This is because the information you
requested has not been collated, checked for accuracy or analysed in some
instances and therefore will not provide you with accurate information and
the information provided could be misleading.

 

The project team has not submitted any information comparable to a
business case in 2011; however this scheme and the SEMMMS Relief Road
scheme (M60 to M56 Manchester Airport via A6) have been the subject of
discussions with the Department of Transport since the original business
case was submitted in 2004. The Council has made some of that original
information available on the SEMMMS website but the original submission
contained a substantial amount of information . This information is no
longer available electronically but a copy can be made available at Fred
Perry House, Edward Street if you wish to see it. Please contact Mrs
Stevenson: Tel 0161 474 4351 or [1][email address]  if you
wish to view these documents as they will need to be retrieved from an
archive.  

 

3.     The environmental impact assessment is still being completed for
the scheme; therefore it cannot be provided for the reasons outlined
above, in respect of Regulation 12(4)(d) EIRs. It is in the public
interest to withhold this document until it is complete because the data
collected has not been analysed or collated into a document that can be
released and therefore could be misleading. The original stage 2 report
from 2004 is available for viewing by the public by arrangement with Mrs
Stevenson (contact details as above) as it is also archived. A copy of the
scoping report for the environmental impact assessment work that is
currently being undertaken for the SEMMMS A6 to Manchester Airport Relief
Road can be provided if you would like to see it; the completed
environmental impact assessment will be published later this year.

 

4.     Detailed funding arrangements for the proposed scheme have still to
be confirmed so the information you request is not available.

 

5.     There are no signed agreements regarding funding or management
since 2007; however there have been a number of reports to AGMA
(Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) and the Greater Manchester
Integrated Transport Authority (now Transport for Greater Manchester)
regarding the Greater Manchester Transport Fund, which included funding
contributions towards the scheme following the previous Government’s offer
of £165m towards the scheme. This offer was removed as part of the
Comprehensive Spending review in 2010.

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request for
information, you are entitled to ask for an internal review; however you
must do so within 40 working days of the date of this response. Any
internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was
not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review,
contact [2][email address] in the first instance.

 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are
entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

[3]www.ico.gov.uk

 

01625 545 745

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Corporate Information Services

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd alan m dransfield (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Yet another PA whom claim section 12 FOI Act2000 COSTS as a reasonable excuse to refuse the request. The SBC give an impression of their staff trawling thru a MOUNTAIN HARD COPY document to recover the request matrial.
SURELY,such documents are reatained via electronic database,hence can be recovered in a matter of minutes

Gadawodd Sheila Oliver (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Sian

I read all the documents in 2004. I was going after work and looking through them - huge tomes of largely consultant waffle-speak. If I wanted any copies they were charging me £6 admin charge each day. I had a little altercation with Mrs Stevenson over this and threatened to go to the press about it. They soon backed down and made the EIA available at the local library.

It is all secrets and lies - just what we get all the time at Stockport. Look at the disgusting case of the collapsing toxic waste dump school, which is haemorrhaging pupils due to bullying and the police have complained about the dangerous traffic situation. It is still all secrets and lies there too.

I am happy to go and look through any documents for you at any time.

You are dealing with a LibDem run council. They don't believe in Freedom of Information and they don't believe in human rights either:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Sheila

PS The Leader said on record last week that the extra funding was to come from Greater Manchester Business rates. I will ask Manchester City Council if they know anything about that. In my experience they operate the FOIA honestly and courteously.

Gadawodd alan m dransfield (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Just when will the SBC realise its is SOP to retain electronic database for the projects which would include ALL email. Have they not heard of Project Management Systems which is an electronic database for project management,the clue is in the title.
I suppose that if the SBC go electronic they can no long use section 12 of th FOI Act (COSTS)

Gadawodd Sheila Oliver (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

If Alexander has agreed this on the basis of such flimsy details I will make a huge fuss:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/me...

Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for your reply to my request. You ask a number of questions and offer some options in order to retrieve some of the information you hold, and these are answered below.

In part 1, you say:

"Your request for copies of correspondence with organisations listed would be very time consuming for officers to comply with... If you could refine your request to be more specific regarding the information
you require this may enable us to provide you with the information."

In reply to this, I would like to refine my request to a more restricted timescale and ask for only correspondence that was directly concerned with the possible acceleration of funding for the proposed road (not other matters, such as planning or contracting), and only for the period between September 2011 and the end of November 2011.

I hope this makes the request more reasonable.

In part 2 you say of the 2004 business case:

"This information is no longer available electronically but a copy can be made available at Fred Perry House, Edward Street if you wish to see it. Please contact Mrs Stevenson: Tel 0161 474 4351 or [1][email address] if you wish to view these documents as they will need to be retrieved from an archive."

I will consider this opportunity and contact the relevant person if I wish to take it up.

In part 3 you say:

"A copy of the scoping report for the environmental impact assessment work that is currently being undertaken for the SEMMMS A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road can be provided if you would like to see it."

I would like to receive a copy of this document as it may contain relevant information.

Yours sincerely,

Sian Berry

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Ms Berry,

 

Thank you for clarifying your request. The Council is considering your
refined request and hopes to be able to respond to your email below within
two weeks or sooner if possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Corporate Information Services

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    SEMMMS Scoping Report.zip

    11.2M Download

Dear Ms Berry,

 

Thank you for providing details of your refined request below (Ref 5098).
I apologise for the delay replying.

 

In response to your first point regarding correspondence, relevant checks
have been carried out and no correspondence falling within the scope of
your request is held.

 

Please find attached a copy of the scoping report as requested. Please
note that Appendix 1 of the report has been removed. This contains a list
of consultees and their contact details; consultees would not expect that
their names and contact details would be published if they responded to
the consultation and were not told that their details may be publicised in
the event they responded.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Corporate Information Services

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Sian Berry anodiad ()

As a follow-up to this response - DfT was sent a similar request and they have managed to identify relevant correspondence with Stockport MBC and have released it in their reponse here: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...