Lambeth Green / Garden Museum

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

Please supply correspondence and documents relating to the Lambeth Green proposal put forward by the Garden Museum in relation to the road junction at the south end of Lambeth Bridge.

Yours faithfully,

James Hatts

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hatts


Our Ref:         FOI-3554-1920


Thank you for your request received on 18 February 2020 asking for
information about Lambeth Green.


Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. 


To enable us to assist with your request, please provide a timeframe as
well as a more detailed description of the information you are seeking
together with any other details you think might help us locate the
information you require.


The FOI Act allows you to request recorded information held by Transport
for London (TfL). There are limits on the time that TfL are required to
spend determining whether TfL holds the information you are requesting and
the time spent locating, retrieving and extracting it. Therefore you
should identify the information that you want as clearly and concisely as
you can, specifying the types of document that you are looking for. You
might also consider limiting your request to a particular period of time,
geographical area or specific departments of TfL.


Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a
request for specific documents, TfL does not have to answer your question
if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a
judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at
the time of your request.


Please note that the 20 working day deadline for responding to your
request will depend on when we receive satisfactory additional
information to help clarify your request.  


If we hear nothing further from you by 12 March 2020 your response will be
treated as a new request.


In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your
request, please feel free to contact me.


Yours sincerely


Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


[1][TfL request email]





dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, Transport for London

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Hatts


Our Ref:         FOI-3553-1920 / FOI-3554-1920 / FOI-3555-1920


Thank you for your requests received on 18 February 2020 asking for
information about the Waterloo Roundabout Feasibility Study, the Lambeth
Green / Garden Museum proposal, and the Waterloo Station / York Road
station entrance.


Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. I
can confirm we hold some of the information you require.


However, FOI-3553-1920 and FOI-3555-1920 are being refused under section
14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, which provides an exemption to
the disclosure of information where a request is considered to be
‘vexatious’. In reaching this conclusion we have drawn on guidance from
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), both in relation to the
specific application of section 14 and in relation to FOI-handling more


On the specific application of section 14(1) we have been steered by the
ICO guidance on the use of that exemption that can be found on its website




You will note that this guidance includes the following advice to public


“Section 14(1) may be used in a variety of circumstances where a request,
or its impact on a public authority, cannot be justified. Whilst public
authorities should think carefully before refusing a request as vexatious
they should not regard section 14(1) as something which is only to be
applied in the most extreme circumstances”;


“Sometimes a request may be so patently unreasonable or objectionable that
it will obviously be vexatious….In cases where the issue is not clear-cut,
the key question to ask is whether the request is likely to cause a
disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or
distress…This will usually be a matter of objectively judging the evidence
of the impact on the authority and weighing this against any evidence
about the purpose and value of the request”;


“The public authority may take into account the context and history of the
request, where this is relevant”;


“The information Commissioner recognises that dealing with unreasonable
requests can place a strain on resources and get in the way of delivering
mainstream services or answering legitimate requests.”


“Section 14(1) is designed to protect public authorities by allowing them
to refuse any request which have the potential to cause a disproportionate
or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or distress”.


“…the concepts of ‘proportionality’ and ‘justification’ are central to any
consideration of whether a request is vexatious”;


The guidance includes some specific indicators to help public authorities
judge whether or not a case should be considered vexatious. This includes
the following:


“Burden on the authority: the effort required to meet the request will be
so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and resources, that
the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how
legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the requester”;


“Frequent or overlapping requests: the requester submits frequent
correspondence about the same issue or sends in new requests before the
public authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier


“Disproportionate effort: the matter being pursued by the requester is
relatively trivial and the authority would have to extend a
disproportionate amount of resources in order to meet the request.”


Considering each of your requests in isolation it is unlikely that we
would find that some of them would meet the criteria of being ‘vexatious’.
However, the guidance from the ICO makes it clear that public authorities
should take into account the ‘context and history’ in which a request is
made, and that this will “…often be a major factor in determining whether
the request is vexatious”. This part of the guidance goes on to say that:


“In practice this means taking account of:


-       Other requests made by the requester to that public authority
(whether complied or refused).

-       The number and subject matter of those requests”, and;


“A request which would not normally be regarded as vexatious in isolation
may assume that quality once considered in context. An example of this
would be where an individual is placing a significant strain on an
authority’s resources by submitting a long and frequent series of
requests, and the most recent request, although not obviously vexatious in
itself, is contributing to that aggregated burden”.


It is this ‘aggregated burden’ that is central to our decision to apply
the exemption set out in section 14(1) in response to your requests.
Whilst you have only submitted two requests  we believe that the time and
resource it would take to process both of these requests meets threshold
for applying section 14(1) has been met. The cumulative effect of these
requests is that it ultimately provides a sustained burden and disruption
to our colleagues across the organisation whose principal function is the
running of transport services or the support services required to make
that happen. We do wish to clarify that whilst we consider that your
requests fall under section 14(1) of the FOI Act, this does not reflect a
conclusion that it has been your intention to deliberately place an undue
burden on our resources.


The ICO guidance provides the following examples of a request which may
fall under section 14(1) if it:


·         Imposes a burden by obliging the authority to sift through a
substantial volume of information to isolate and extract the relevant

·         Encompasses information which is only of limited value because
of the wide scope of the request;

·         Creates a burden by requiring the authority to spend a
considerable amount of time considering any exemptions and redactions.


Our view is that all three of these examples apply in this instance.


With regard to your request for a copy of the Waterloo Roundabout
Feasibility Study and related correspondence (FOI-3553-1920) we believe
that to comply would this request would be a significant task. Given the
subject of the request and the negotiations that are still ongoing
regarding the site, it is likely that it would be necessary to spend a
significant amount of time considering exemptions which might be
applicable to the information caught by the request, particularly in
relation to any commercial sensitive information contained within the
requested documentation. This is likely to include redacting exempt
information from emails in which there is very limited public interest but
which are caught by your request.


When requests for email correspondence are received the FOI Case
Management team may use a search tool called Discovery Accelerator. This
allows us to conduct company wide email searches using keywords, dates and
email addresses. The more specific a requester can be as to what they are
looking for, the more we can narrow the search and therefore stand a
better chance of a more relevant or focused result. A search will then
return an amount of ‘hits’ which potentially contain information relating
to the search terms used. Each ‘hit’ is a single email, although that
email will often consist of a chain of emails containing the search term
at least once.


Due to the broad nature of your request we would have to do a company wide
search of over 29,000 accounts using the search terms ‘Waterloo Roundabout
Feasibility Study’ in order to try and capture any relevant emails. There
would likely be many more emails caught by the request and broadening the
search criteria to include the keywords of just ‘Waterloo Roundabout’
would likely produce many more hits. Any results would certainly include
duplicates, as well as emails sent from third parties in which TfL were
copied into so would not be caught by the request. However, we would still
need to manually review all of the emails identified by the search in
order to extract and collate the relevant emails.


In addition, by their nature, emails contain a significant amount of
personal data such as phone numbers and email addresses and so, whilst
this process of redaction does not feature as part of our considerations
on whether any possible cost limit in processing your request might apply,
the burden created by non-specific requests for emails is significant and
this should be borne in mind before submitting requests of this nature.


To help make it easier to process your request, and to limit the time and
resources we might use in considering any exemptions, if you have specific
questions regarding the Feasibility Study or the overall project we would
be happy to consider these. You may also wish to refine your request by
either removing your request for correspondence of providing specific
keywords that you would like us to search for as well as timeframe, as
this will help us to focus our search.


You have also requested correspondence with Braeburn Estates, and others,
relating to the York Road entrance to Waterloo Station (FOI-3555-1920). As
described above, again we would have to do a company wide search using the
search terms ‘York Road’ and ‘Waterloo’ in order to try and capture any
relevant emails and any emails would have to be manually reviewed in order
to determine whether they were captured by the request.


To help narrow the scope of this request so that we can more easily
locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking you may wish
to refine it by just requesting our correspondence with Braeburn Estates.
Again, providing specific keywords that you would like us to search for
will help us to focus our search.


We do not hold and TfL or London Underground memos on this matter as we
were not procuring or delivering the ongoing works. Please note that the
ticket hall was reopened on Friday 13 March.


With regard to your request for information relating to the Lambeth Green
Proposal put forward regarding Lambeth Bridge (FOI-3554-1920), this has
been closed as we have not received the clarification asked for in my
email dated 20 February 2020. Any further correspondence we receive from
you in relation to this your request will be treated as a new request.


In making any future request I would ask that you consider carefully what
information is of most importance to you, and to take into account the
guidance and advice provided by the ICO such as the “dos and don’ts”
published on its website here:


You will note that the table halfway down that page includes the following
advice to FOI applicants:


Do….“Give the authority ample opportunity to address any previous requests
you have made before submitting new ones”;

Don’t… “Submit frivolous or trivial requests; remember that processing any
information request involves some cost to the public purse”;

Don’t… “Disrupt a public authority by the sheer volume of information
requested. Whether you are acting alone or in concert with others, this is
a clear misuse of the Act and an abuse of your ‘right to know’”, and;

Don’t…”Deliberately ‘fish’ for information by submitting very broad or
random requests in the hope it will catch something noteworthy or
otherwise useful.”


We would therefore encourage you to prioritise any future requests around
the information that is of most importance to you to ensure that you are
able to make the best use of our resources under the FOI Act.


Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive a
revised request.


In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your
request, please feel free to contact me.


Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to


Yours sincerely


Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


[3][TfL request email]





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