Horspath bridge

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Sir/Madam

With respect to Cuddesdon Road bridge, Horspath (THA/21), please provide me with:

* all visual inspection and detailed examination/principal inspection reports carried out since September 2013
* all structural assessments carried out since September 2013
* all records of repairs carried out since September 2013, including costings
* all documentation/correspondence exchanged with local and county councils regarding repair or demolition of the bridge since September 2013.

Please forward this request to your Historical Railways Estate team.

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England,

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority. You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website at:
[2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

For more information on how we use your data please check our privacy
notice at: [3]https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[4]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy
4. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Highways England,

⁠Dear Graeme
Thank you for your email to Highways England dated 27 February regarding
Cuddesdon Road Bridge. 
 
Based on the information you’ve provided, the road you refer to is managed
by Oxfordshire County Council, so you’ll need to redirect your query onto
them. I’ve listed their highways department contact details below:
Tel:  01865 792422 
Email: [1][email address]
For your information, we manage motorways and some of the more significant
A roads. Please find below a link to a map that shows which roads we are
responsible for:
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
 

Thank you again for contacting us and I hope that this helps with your
enquiry. 

If you have any further enquiries regarding any other Highways England
related issue please visit our website where information on all Highways
England policies and procedures can be found:
[3]https://highwaysengland.co.uk/.

Alternatively, you can contact us via email:
[4][Highways England request email], or you can call our 24-hour Customer
Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

Kind regards,

Jem

Customer Contact Centre Advisor

Highways England | National Traffic Operations Centre | 3 Ridgeway,
Quinton Bus. Park | Birmingham | B32 1AF
Tel: +44 (0) 300 123 5000
Web: [5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

 
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Jem

No, this bridge is managed by Highways England's Historical Railways Estate team in York, as stated in my original message. Please forward this request for them to respond to.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England,

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority. You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website at:
[2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

For more information on how we use your data please check our privacy
notice at: [3]https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[4]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy
4. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Fisher, Joanne,

Dear Mr Bickerdike

 

Thank you for your request for information about Horspath bridge dated 27
February 2021. I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

The due date for issuing a response is 30 March 2021.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote reference number 101873 in any future communications.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Joanne Fisher

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York |  YO1 6WP

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 068930  

Web: [1]http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk

If you would like to make a request under the Freedom of information Act,
please contact [2][Highways England request email]

 

Please note – I do not work on Mondays

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[4][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/
2. mailto:[Highways England request email]
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
4. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Smith, Fiona,

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Bickerdike,

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information.

 

Regards,

Fiona

 

Fiona Smith

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York | Y01 6WP
General Office: +44 (0) 1904 621924

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7802 511834

Web: [1]http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk

If you would like to make a request under the Freedom of information Act,
please contact [2][Highways England request email]

 

Mondays – I am not in the office and do not have access to emails

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[4][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/
2. mailto:[Highways England request email]
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
4. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to request an internal review into Highways England’s handling of my FoI/EIR request ref. 101873.

In refusing to provide information about Horspath bridge, Fiona Smith asserts that “This request, as with similar previous and current requests, is an exercise in fishing for information that forms part of a concerted campaign to disrupt the work of Highways England. As such, it is an abuse of the right of access to information.”

I have no wish and do not seek to disrupt the work of Highways England’s staff in managing the Historical Railways Estate. I am however entitled to challenge its unwarranted and socially destructive plans to demolish or infill disused railway structures, many of which have the potential to play important roles in future transport schemes.

The information sought on this occasion and through other FoI/EIR requests would inform a better understanding of the reasons behind these plans. Whilst I fully appreciate Highways England not welcoming its own information being used to challenge its actions, public accountability is precisely what FoI/EIR is intended to facilitate.

The term ‘concerted campaign’ is not defined by Highways England. Does this relate specifically to my actions or those of others? I have spent much of the past 15 years encouraging people to recognise the importance and value of disused railways structures by publishing materials on their construction, history and condition. It is therefore only to be expected that I regularly seek information from a public body responsible for managing 3,200 structures that fall within the scope of my interest.

Over the past 12 months, I have submitted 14 requests to Highways England, including eight about Queensbury Tunnel in my leading role within the campaign to retain it for use as part of a Bradford-Halifax Greenway, and five as a member of The HRE Group which is seeking to prevent the infilling or demolition of structures that have value or potential for future sustainable transport provision.

Highways England is a public body employing around 5,000 people and spending upwards of £4 billion of taxpayers’ money every year. Whilst recognising that the Historical Railways Estate team is very small, it is reasonable to expect Highways England to have sufficient available resources to fulfil reasonable obligations under FoI/EIR. Very few of my requests seek more than modest amounts of information about specific structures.

It should be noted that, in itself, an FoI/EIR request does NOT have to seek information that is in the public interest; most people will only ask for material of personal interest. Only when a Public Interest Test is required does the wider value of the information become relevant.

If the assertion of a “concerted campaign” is alleging a coordinated attempt on the part of multiple persons to disrupt the work of Highways England, I see no evidence to support this.

If The HRE Group requires information, I will request it. None of the Group’s eight other members have submitted FoI/EIR requests; neither have I ever asked anyone else to submit a request on our behalf. I have twice been contacted by individuals who told us of their intention to submit requests to Highways England after seeing press/social media coverage about the company’s intention to demolish or infill 134 disused structures. Contact from these individuals was unsolicited and, on one occasion, resulted in me withdrawing an existing FoI/EIR request to prevent duplication and minimise workload.

It is only to be expected that an issue that has been covered in the national press, is being examined by public and political bodies, is widely discussed on social media and has attracted 11,500+ signatories to a petition will result in a small number of individuals (I’ve found seven) submitting requests for their own interest or to inform personal contributions to the wider debate. We are certainly aware of these requests and derive value from them, but did not solicit them.

It should also be noted that the very specific supplementary requests submitted by two individuals were a consequence of the material provided within the original responses conflicting with Highways England’s public statements on the infilling/demolition issue. If there had been no disparity, the supplementary requests would not have been submitted.

None of this supports your claim of a “concerted campaign”; it is simply what happens when individuals are motivated by an issue they feel strongly about. In any case, I see no legitimate justification for my own democratic rights to be diminished as a result of FoI/EIR requests submitted by people over whom I have no influence, just share similar interests.

Fiona Smith goes on to assert that “There is no discernible purpose or value to the request, other than to disrupt Highways England’s work and cause irritation, and there is no obvious overriding public interest in releasing the documents requested.”

In the context of Horspath, the purpose of the request was to understand how the condition of a structure could have deteriorated to such an extent that an emergency intervention was required to demolish its parapets. This would suggest a failure of the asset management regime. What was the cost of this work to the taxpayer against that of earlier interventions, for example, to manage tree growth or water ingress?

To suggest that there is no overriding public interest in this ignores the protest involving members of the local community following the arrival of your contractor, associated media coverage and the involvement of local politicians.

In a wider context, there is clearly public interest in plans to put beyond use structures that are earmarked for three heritage railway extensions, three reopened railways and eight new cycle routes, thus undermining Government policy to drive modal shift towards sustainable forms of transport and pulling the rug from under communities who are trying to secure a better future.

I accept that a sudden influx of FoI/EIR requests is likely to be burdensome for a small team and you can be assured that I only submit requests when necessary and limit their scope as much as possible. The allegation of “fishing” is therefore unfounded. But your action in refusing modest requests from a handful of independent people on the basis of vexatiousness is disproportionate, unwarranted and lacking in evidence.

I look forward to receiving the outcome of your review.

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

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England,

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority. You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website at:
[2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

For more information on how we use your data please check our privacy
notice at: [3]https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[4]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy
4. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Gosling, Louisa,

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Bickerdike

Please find the Internal Review you requested attached, along with some of
the information you requested.

I apologise for the delay and any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Your sincerely

 

Louisa Gosling

 

 

Louisa Gosling

Information Rights Advisor

Highways England

[mobile number]

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[2][Highways England request email]

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
2. file:///tmp/[Highways England request email]

Dear Louisa,

Many thanks for sending me the findings of your Internal Review and some of the requested information. We welcome HE's recognition that your infilling/demolition programme is of public interest and your commitment to being more open about it.

Three points:

You state that you "find that the 18 year scope of your request is unnecessarily broad". My request was for information dating back to *2013*; that is a period of *eight* years, not 18.

The purpose of the first part of the request was to determine the extent of the deterioration of this structure during HE's custodianship and the recommendations of those who inspected/examined it. This cannot be done from just the 2020 reports. So please provide the missing annual inspection/examination reports from 2013, as requested. I am content to bring the start date forward to the last year in which a Detailed Examination was undertaken as long as that is no later than 2015.

You state that you "hold no records of repairs between September 2013 and the day we received your request."

My request was submitted on 27 February 2021. Local people were protesting on Horspath bridge on 24 February 2021. Whilst I recognise that HE will have little or no material relating to the physical repairs, there must be correspondence relating to tendering for the job and the contract award. I would expect there also to be an exchange of messages regarding the protest. In my view, all this would be within scope and I ask that you provide it.

You state that providing correspondence with the Councils over repair or demolition of the bridge "would involve searching through 4 staff mailboxes including their archives, as well as the electronic bridge files" and would represent a "disproportionate burden".

Again, my request actually covers a period of *eight* years, not 18. So please provide the requested material from 2013. But again, I am content to bring the start date forward to the last year in which a Detailed Examination was undertaken as long as that is no later than 2015.

I look forward to receiving the missing information at your earliest convenience, recognising that it is now 86 working days since my original request was submitted. I will update the ICO that you have provided some of the requested information and your Internal Review conclusions are largely invalid due to your failure to correctly calculate the eight-year scope of my request.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bickerdike

8 Atodiad

Dear Graeme
Please find attached my response to your comments on internal review 101873.
Please also find attached additional information which is referred to in my response and / or in the correspondence provided.
Many thanks
Louisa

Louisa Gosling
Information Rights Advisor
Highways England
[mobile number]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Louisa

Thank you for your further response. My comments:

* I did not seek *Highways England's* appraisal of the structure's deterioration; I asked for the inspection/examination reports so that our engineers could carry out *their own* appraisal.
* Could you please confirm that you are refusing my request for the inspection/examination reports so I can let the ICO know.
* I note that you made the same typographical error about the "18 year scope" of my request *three* times.
* I can find no information within the eight supplied attachments about "the local protest" or "correspondence exchanged between HE and the local and county councils about the nature of the work needed to repair the bridge, the Council’s reluctance to close the road while repairs works are implemented..."

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bickerdike

FOI Advice,

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Bickerdike
Please find attached a letter outlining my response.
This has also been informed by the appeal you have made to the ICO about this case, and my contact with the ICO Senior Case Officer in this regard
Also attached is part 1 of the information which is referred to in the letter (the requested examination reports)
Part 2 of the information referred to will be provided in a separate email (immediately following this one). This contains the requested correspondence.
Thank you

Louisa Gosling
FOI Advisor
Information Rights
National Highways
[mobile number]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Advice,

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    New Compressed zipped Folder.zip

    17.8M Download

Dear Mr Bickerdike
Please find attached part 2 of the information referred to in my previous letter.
This is the correspondence you have requested.
Redactions have been made under EIR regulation 13 for personal data.
Thank you

Louisa Gosling
FOI Advisor
Information Rights
National Highways
[mobile number]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Thanks Louisa.
Regards
Graeme Bickerdike