Ecology surveys and reports, Colne Valley 2018 to date - Environmental Information Regulations

Robert Mileto made this Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth Amgylcheddol request to National Grid plc
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority


This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Yn disgwyl am adolygiad mewnol gan National Grid plc o'u triniaeth o'r cais hwn.

Dear National Grid plc,

Under the Environmental Information Regulations, for the period 1/1/2018 to 17/11/2020, could you please provide:
a) A complete list of all the dates of survey for protected species and what species they related to.
b) Copies of all reports produced as a result of the surveys in a) above.
c) Copies of all correspondence between National Grid plc and any ecologists or consultancies it contracted which specifically mentions water vole.

Given I am aware of the presence of protected species and, with the occasional exception of badger data, such reports are always made public and un-redacted in relation to planning applications (of which there are thousands of such examples UKwide), any suggestion that effectively identical reports produced for National Grid may cause increased likelihood of harm to protected species is clearly invalid for this request.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Mileto

.box.EIRrequests, National Grid plc

Dear Mr Mileto,
Thank you for your request under the Enivronmental Information Regulations. In order to be able to deal with your request, please can you clarify the excact project that you have requested the ecology information for.

Kind regards,
EIR Team

National Grid, Warwick Technology Park,Gallows Hill, CV34 6DA

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear EIR Team

I can't be sure of exactly what you are calling the projects, hence the use in the request of the "Colne Valley". It may be the HS2/National Grid ZC overhead line realignment scheme? For the avoidance of doubt, I request you provide the requested information for any works that fall within a 2km radius from NGR TQ 05309 86847

Yours sincerely,

Robert Mileto

.box.EIRrequests, National Grid plc

Dear Mr Mileto,

Thank you for your swift response and clarification. We now consider this request under the Environmental Information Regulations.

EIR Team
nationalgrid

National Grid, Warwick Technology Park,Gallows Hill, CV34 6DA

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.box.EIRrequests, National Grid plc

6 Atodiad

Dear Mr Mileto,
Please find attached to this email our response letter regarding your
request under the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) and the
associated documents as referenced within the letter.
 
 
 
Kind regards,
EIR Team
nationalgrid  
 
National Grid, Warwick Technology Park,Gallows Hill, CV34 6DA
 
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Dear National Grid plc,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of National Grid plc's handling of my FOI request 'Ecology surveys and reports, Colne Valley 2018 to date - Environmental Information Regulations'.

In relation to Part b) there was unreasonable and unnecessary withholding of requested protected species information.

Even though I clearly requested National Grid not to, there was unreasonably and unnecessarily withholding requested protected species information by misusing Regulation 12(5)(g) that provides an exception from the duty to make environmental information available if it would harm the protection of the environment to do so.

As already informed in the FOI request, the vast majority of equivalent protected species information enters the public domain when it is submitted in relation to planning applications and in such cases it is immediately available to the public, underacted, via Council planning portals or directly via an internet search. https://infrastructure.planninginspector... and https://www.welhat.gov.uk/media/12859/Ap... are just two examples of the likely many tens of thousands that ca be found and downloaded. Please note that the former link is to a National Grid report.

Moreover, Natural England, the Government’s own advisor on protected species release equivalent protected species data via FOI. I can provide examples on demand. Clearly they see no harm the protection of the environment to do so. Hence why should National Grid act differently in this matter

You will also find that conservation organisations that include the likes of the Woodland Trust and the RSPB (and far better informed than National Grid on matters of environmental protection) do not express any concern over the disclosure of protected species data via the two sources listed above.

It is therefore disingenuous of National Grid to state, with no substantive evidence, that the release of protected species data would adversely affect the protection of the environment. I believe that you have failed to follow the ICO guidance at https://ico.org.uk/media/1630/eir_guidan... and https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

I therefore ask that they/you:
i) Release the protected species data requested with full details of those protected species
ii) If not, then detail in full why the requested data differs significantly from the examples provided and how you believe refusal to be fully complaint with the ICO guidance linked above.

In addition, the “ZC Ecological Method Statement Main Works (Version 7 - October 2020)” does not contain the extents of and full results of protected species surveys (including detailed locations). I therefore ask that these extents and full results be provided in order to adequately answer the question asked. Looking at the “Level 1-3 Ecology Report”, It may be that these are on a GIS and associated database? If so, appropriate shapefiles and database extracts would be acceptable, or screenshots, whichever is easier.

Part c)
Unreasonable and unnecessary withholding of requested protected species information
In relation to Regulation 12(5)(g), the same points I have made for b) above apply here also.

In relation to Regulation 12(5)(d)
Your response is dated 15 Dec 2020, the police investigation ended on the 14 Dec 2020.

I therefore ask that they/you:
i) Unredacted all information pertaining to water vole (including exact location)
ii) If not, then detail in full why the requested data differs significantly from the 4 examples provided and how you believe refusal to be fully complaint with the ICO guidance linked above.
and is therefore excepted from disclosure because such disclosure would adversely affect the confidentiality of those proceedings, confidentiality of which is protected by law.
iii) Provide all emails previously withheld under Regulation 12(5)(d) since the investigation is now over.
iv) Explain why the information was withheld under Regulation 12(5)(d) when that investigation ended the day before this element of the request was refused.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Robert Mileto

.box.EIRrequests, National Grid plc

Dear Mr Mileto,
I can confirm we have received you response and our complaints team will review your requests in line with the Environmental Information Regulation's requirements.

Kind regards,
EIR Team
nationalgrid

National Grid, Warwick Technology Park,Gallows Hill, CV34 6DA

nationalgrid.com | Twitter | LinkedIn
Please consider the environment before printing this email

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.box.EIRrequests, National Grid plc

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Mileto,
Attached to this email is a letter detailing the outcome of our internal review.

Kind regards,
EIR Complaints Officer
nationalgrid

National Grid, Warwick Technology Park,Gallows Hill, CV34 6DA

nationalgrid.com | Twitter | LinkedIn
Please consider the environment before printing this email

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