This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Corsham / Burlington underground facility'.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Information Systems and Services 
 
Joint Forces Command/ISS HQ, Chief of Staff Secretariat, Bldg 405, MOD Corsham, 
Westwells Road, CORSHAM, SN13 9NR 
 
 
 
 
Luke Tovey  
Our Reference: ISS/COS/2014/06468 
[mailto:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx]
 
  24 November 2014 
 
 
Dear Mr Tovey 
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST 
 
Your correspondence dated 28 October 2014 is considered to be a request for information in 
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.  You requested the following 
information: 
 
 
“Could I please have a copy of the full unedited video survey and the plans of Corsham / 
 
Burlington Underground Facility please?” 
 
The underground area at Corsham is split into two distinct areas; the larger area is predominantly 
managed as a mine and is known as Burlington Underground Facility and the smaller area is still 
being used by the MOD and is known as Corsham Underground.   
 
We have interpreted your request to be seeking information relating to the Burlington Underground 
Facility.    
 
A search for the information has now been completed within the Ministry of Defence (MOD), and I 
can confirm that some information in scope of your request is held.  
 
The MOD does not hold information relating to a video survey of the Burlington Underground 
Facility. 
 
Information relating to plans of the Burlington Underground Facility is held.  However, the MOD 
manages and operates the Burlington Underground Facility on behalf of the Secretary of State for 
Defence and the area has been managed and operated by the Department since before World 
War II.  Given the length of time that the Burlington Underground Facility has been in MOD hands, 
there are potentially a vast number of plans in scope of your request which may be dispersed 
across various areas of the Department.   
 
Section 12 of the FOI Act makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information 
where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central 
government is set at £600.  This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3.5 working 
days in determining whether the MOD holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it.  
To fully answer your question, a survey would need to be carried out across various MOD 
departments to identify, retrieve, search and extract all information in scope of your request and it 
has been estimated that this would take around 157 man hours to conduct.  This would equate an 
approximate cost of £3,900.  
 
Section 16 of the FOI Act requires a public authority to offer advice and assistance on how to 
reduce or refine a request to bring the cost of compliance under the limit by narrowing or limiting its 
scope. In this case, it is difficult to advise how this might be done due to the very significant 


number of plans held.  However, you will wish to be aware that the MOD is assessing if some of 
the plans of the Burlington Underground Facility that we hold may be released into the public 
domain via the internet.  Clearly, given the dispersal of the vast number of plans across the 
organisation due to the passage of time, and that their release will need to take security 
considerations and public safety into account, this work may take some time.  If it is decided that 
they may be released, it is likely that they will be offered in the first instance to the National 
Archives, and if they do not require them they are likely to be offered to local authorities and 
museums.  However, we do not expect this to happen until around Financial Year 2016/17. 
 
In the interim, you may be aware that there is already much information in the public domain which 
you may find of use.  Information on the entire Corsham underground area, including the 
Burlington Underground Facility, is already widely available in the public domain via a number of 
excellent books and various websites, details of which are shown below.  These will provide you 
with many photographs and maps. 
 
http://corsham.thehumanjourney.net/index.htm 
 
http://www.nettleden.com/venues/burlington/  
 
http://www.burlingtonbunker.co.uk/maps/ 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorn,_Wiltshire  
 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Underground-Cities-Britains-Subterranean/dp/0850527333  
 
The Department has also developed an information booklet covering the Corsham underground 
which I have attached for your reference. 
 
If you are not satisfied with this response or you wish to complain about any aspect of the handling 
of your request, then you should contact me in the first instance. If informal resolution is not 
possible and you are still dissatisfied then you may apply for an independent internal review by 
contacting the Information Rights Compliance team, 1st Floor, MOD Main Building, Whitehall, 
SW1A 2HB (e-mail xxxxxxxxxx@xxx.xx). Please note that any request for an internal review must 
be made within 40 working days of the date on which the attempt to reach informal resolution has 
come to an end.  
 
If you remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you may take your complaint to the 
Information Commissioner under the provisions of Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act. 
Please note that the Information Commissioner will not investigate your case until the MOD internal 
review process has been completed. Further details of the role and powers of the Information 
Commissioner can be found on the Commissioner's website, http://www.ico.gov.uk. 
 
Yours sincerely,  
 
 
 
Information Systems and Services HQ 
Policy Secretariat