By email: email@example.com
Date as email
Dear K Trevis
Thank you for your information request of 11 September 2019. I have processed your request
under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (‘EIR’) as the information requested is
environmental according to the definition in regulation 2 of the EIR. Section 39 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘FOIA’) exempts environmental information from the Act,
but requires us to consider it under the EIR.
In your email you requested the fol owing information:
Please forward to the FOI Team this request: Please provide details of all
correspondence between HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport
between 1 January 2019 and 3 September 2019 regarding the Benefit Cost
Ratio (BCR) of: a) HS2 as a whole; b) Phase 2b.
Under the EIR you have the right to:
• know whether we hold the information you requested
• be provided with that information (subject to any exemptions under the Act which
I can confirm that HS2 Ltd holds the information that you have requested, however we are
withholding this on the fol owing grounds:Regulation 12(4)(d) - Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents and
Regulation 12(4)(d) of the EIRs provides that a public authority may refuse to disclose
information “to the extent that the request relates to material which is stil in the course of
completion, to unfurnished documents or to incomplete data”. In effect, the exception covers
three classes of information: information which relates to material which is stil in the course
of completion; unfinished documents; and incomplete data. If the information fal s into any
one of these categories, then the exception is potentially engaged (subject to a consideration
of where the public interest lies). The fol owing link sets out regulation 12(4)(d) in ful :
Public Interest Test
Al exceptions under EIR are subject to a Public Interest Test (PIT) which means that we need
to consider whether “in al circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the
exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information”. We have weighed up
the benefits to the public of releasing the information against the factors for not releasing it.
We consider that the factors for not releasing the information outweighs that for disclosure.Factors supporting disclosure
• General public interest in the disclosure of information to ensure transparency and
visibility of public bodies being held to account regarding decisions made and use of
• The public needs to understand how and why decisions have been taken and the
factors taken into account by decision makers.
Factors supporting non-disclosure
• There is a strong public interest in ensuring that public officials have a safe space to
work candidly and freely without being concerned that information could be released
in a form where it is potential y misleading.
• The BCR data is part of the information provided to the Government review by HS2
Ltd, which is, as part of its considerations, looking at the benefits and impacts of the
• Disclosure of information that is stil under consideration would lead to the diversion
of resources to explain issues and engage in public debate regarding matters that are
The decision to withhold the information is upheld in the light of the arguments against
disclosure. The material in question is stil in the course of completion, thus regulation
12(4)(d) is engaged. The information you have requested forms part of material which is
informing future policy decisions in respect of the future of the HS2 project.
We recognise that there is a strong public interest in releasing information, particularly when
it concerns public expenditure on a large-scale project. However there is also a public interest
in ensuring that public authorities are given space to develop policies and make informed
decisions, without concern that the public debate could be skewed by the early release of
Consequently we believe the reasons against disclosure outweigh the public interest in
releasing the information.
Right to Review
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request or with the decisions made in
relation to your request, you may complain in writing to HS2 Ltd at the address below. Please
also see attached details of HS2 Ltd’s complaints procedure and your right to complain to the
Please remember to quote reference number FOI-19-3396
in any future communication
relating to this request.
Briefings, Correspondence and FOI Adviser
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited
Your right to complain to HS2 Ltd and the Information Commissioner
You have the right to complain to HS2 Ltd within two calendar months of the date of this
letter about the way in which your request for information was handled and/or about the
decision not to disclose al or part of the information requested.
Your complaint wil be acknowledged and you wil be advised of a target date by which to
expect a response. Initial y your complaint wil be re-considered by the official who dealt with
your request for information. If, after careful consideration, that official decides that his/her
decision was correct, your complaint wil automatically be referred to a senior independent
official who wil conduct a further review. You wil be advised of the outcome of your
complaint and if a decision is taken to disclose information original y withheld this wil be
done as soon as possible.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office