Application for filming in Black Park

J Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Buckinghamshire County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Buckinghamshire County Council,

I understand a film production is currently filming in Black Park.

Under the Environmental Information Regulations and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please can you provide the application made by the production company for this filming.

Yours faithfully,

J Taylor

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

 

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadlines to respond are as follows:

 

Data Protection Act 1998 - 40 calendar days.

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Further information on our services can be found at: [1]www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available [2]here and independent guidance
is available from the Information Commissioner at: [3]http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

 

Freedom of Information Team

 

[4]TTC
Buckinghamshire County Council

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Mr Taylor 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

RFI-1009

 

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

Your request for information regarding filming in Black Park has now been
considered and our response is as follows:

There is not a film production currently filming in Black Park, a
production is carrying out work to a set for future filming but at the
time and date of the request no filming has taken place.

Filming was undertaken on 6 August for a commercial for Persil washing
powder.

On 24 August, filming was undertaken for a men’s mental health charity
advert.

If you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to get in
touch.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use
the Council’s complaints procedure (at Stage 3) in the first instance.

 

This is available at:
[1]http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/sites/bcc/abou...

 

Or by writing to:

FOI Monitoring Officer

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Aylesbury

Bucks

HP20 1UA

Or via email: [2][Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

 

You can also then complain to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane 
Wilmslow 
Cheshire 
SK9 5AF 
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510

Email: [3][email address]
[4]www.ico.org.uk

 

With kind regards

 

Joanna Kelly

Freedom of Information

 

Buckinghamshire County Council

Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UA

[5][Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

 

 

 

 

 

[6]TTC

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Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thank you for your reply. I wish to make a new request under the Environmental Information Regulations and the Freedom of Information Act

1) Please may I request the application for the film production mentioned in your reply: "There is not a film production currently filming in Black Park, a production is carrying out work to a set for future filming but at the time and date of the request no filming has taken place."

2) What are the planned dates when the future filming will take place?

Yours sincerely,

J Taylor

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

 

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadlines to respond are as follows:

 

Data Protection Act 1998 - 40 calendar days.

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Further information on our services can be found at: [1]www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available [2]here and independent guidance
is available from the Information Commissioner at: [3]http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

 

Freedom of Information Team

 

[4]TTC

Book a Free NHS Health Check now! 

If you live in Buckinghamshire and are aged 40 – 74 and you could be
entitled to a 20 minute, free NHS Health Check*. 

Contact your GP or go [5]online to register and book. 

*see website for eligibility.

Buckinghamshire County Council

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This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear J Taylor

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your further query.

We can confirm that in the contract they were contracted for 14 shoot days, but these were not on specific dates as the shoot was weather dependent. There have been 14 shoot days but we do not have the actual dates that these relate to.

Please also find attached a redacted copy of the filming licence.

We have redacted some parts of the licence under Section 43(2):

Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).

We believe disclosure would prejudice the Authority's interests on two points:

1) The rates charged are a point of negotiation for the Authority and if disclosed here would hamper future negotiations with other production companies
2) Disclosure would seriously damage the Country Parks service's reputation in the filming industry (where there is an expectation of sensitivity) and could jeopardise future filming activity/income on which the parks' self-financing relies

We believe disclosure would be likely to prejudice the production company's interests:

- filming is a commercial activity
- some details of the approach taken to a particular filming would be of interest to competitors, as it reflects the expertise of the production company and would potentially allow competitors to modify their approaches
- information on who and what is filming is commercially sensitive and disclosure might be a security risk to the production
- we would not normally disclose intended dates of filming as fans can potentially disrupt filming and lead to delay and additional booking requirements and cost, indeed, we know this does and can occur from our own experience in the past (with the Harry Potter films)
- productions rely on secrecy to protect the integrity of the end product, fewer people will watch if plot lines somehow become known

We do recognise that there is a public interest in openness and transparency, especially where a public asset is being used. However, we equally note that the majority of the park would still be/was available for public enjoyment, and the continued enjoyment of these assets relies in part on the funding which filming activity provides. We believe that the public interest rests with non-disclosure of the redacted material.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use the Council’s complaints procedure in the first instance by writing to:
FOI Monitoring Officer
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP20 1UA
Or via email: [Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

You can also then complain to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510
Email: [email address]
www.ico.org.uk

Regards

Neil Doling

Freedom of Information Officer

Assistant Chief Executive’s Service | Strategy & Policy | Customer Experience & Communications

[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UA

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

I wish to request an internal review of your decision in this request.

Section 1. Incomplete disclosure

Firstly, the information disclosed appears to be incomplete. The "declaration" section of the application lists a number of documents which were apparently attached to the application, such as health and safety policy/risk assessment/method statements; vehicle registration numbers and identifying logo; a letter of intent outlining what the production will involve. None of this information was disclosed, so either the original application was incomplete and did not meet the requirements on the form, or the disclosure document is incomplete.

Section 2. The applicable legislation is EIR rather than FOIA

Secondly, I believe the applicable legislation is the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) rather than FOI Act.

Regulation 2(1) of the EIR defines that “environmental information” has the same meaning as in Article 2(1) of the Directive, namely any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on—
(c)measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;

In this case, sets and fencing were constructed in Black Park and the disclosed information demonstrates that artificial lighting was provided; furthermore, vegetation (including non-native vegetation) was introduced into the park to dress the areas used for filming. All of these had an affect on the land and landscape within Black Park, and will have involve creating emissions (e.g. noise and light) and additional vehicle movements (which would have also emitted noise and emitted exhaust if they were petrol/diesel vehicles).

The disclosed information shows that the filming involved activities such as forestry works; supervision by an ecologist/conservation adviser as required; extensive dressing with "greens" (vegetation); and establishing a boundary of activity for a badger sett. All of these matters relate to the elements of the environment as defined in regulation 2(1) of the EIR.

Section 3. The refusal did not take into account the circumstances at the time of the request - publication of extensive information about the filming in Black Park, including confirmation that this filming was for Star Wars episode 9

I also believe that the refusal of the request did not take into account the circumstances at the time of the request, namely that extensive information about this filming which is already in the public domain.

In this case, it is already public knowledge that the filming in Black Park was for the next episode of the Star Wars film franchise and extensive photos of the sets have already been published online.

At the time of the request, a number of photos of the sets had already been published, showing props such as the "Millennium Falcon" and an areas being dressed with foliage, vines, prop boulders and other set dressing. Examples of coverage can be viewed here:

https://makingstarwars.net/2018/09/today...

https://makingstarwars.net/2018/08/a-fir...

https://makingstarwars.net/2018/09/photo...

Section 4. Disclosure of the information is unlikely to harm the box office for Star Wars episode 9

For a number of years, numerous sites such as Making Star Wars have reported on rumours and leaks on film productions in general and, in particular, the Star Wars film series. The most recent Star Wars film (The Last Jedi) grossed $1.321 billion at the global box office despite the existence of sites which report rumours and leaks and I would like to know what evidence there is that the information in the application would cause cinema-goers worldwide not to want to see Star Wars episode 9.

On 24 October 2018, the website Forbes reported that competition from other movies around the time of the planned release for Star Wars episode 9 has significantly reduced, due to changes in the planned release dates for other movies:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendel...

I consider that this reduction in competition would be likely to benefit the box office for Star Wars episode 9 and outweigh any prejudice might be likely to occur from disclosure of the information.

Section 5. Star Wars episode 9 filming at Black Park has now concluded

I understand that the filming in Black Park has now concluded and therefore there is no ongoing risk to set security at this location due to disclosure of the information at this time. On 12 October 2018, Making Star Wars.Net reported that sets were being dismantled in Black Park, for example see: https://makingstarwars.net/2018/10/a-fir...

Section 6. Disclosure of the information would not harm confidentiality due to the pre-existing extensive publication of information about the location filming; disclosure would not reveal specific details of plotlines, characters, dialogue or storyline

I would argue that the confidentiality and integrity of the filming in Black Park has to a very large degree already been removed by the coverage posted online for anyone to view, as in the examples mentioned above. I consider that revealing details of the filming application would not, per se, reveal details of the plot line for the movie as the application probably does not contain details of specific dialogue, characters or actors present, storyline or plot.

Section 7. The location of filming areas was evident to anyone visiting Black Park during the filming

I visited Black Park in September 2018 and the location of the filming areas was very evident to anyone visiting the park during that time. The first area was extensively fenced off in the south-east corner of the Park, with metal fencing and plastic sheeting blocking off a number of footpaths. The unit base could be viewed when driving north up Black Park Road.

In addition, the application shows that filming areas were to be signposted by the production company. In September 2018, these areas were indicated with "day glo" orange arrows temporarily affixed to trees and sign posts and were very obvious to anyone visiting the park. Indeed, I could follow these arrows to the areas which were being used for filming.

The second area was roughly in the centre of the park and again was fenced off, with a generator running. This area had signage which indicated that CCTV was in operation and guard dogs were on patrol. I would argue that withholding the location of the filming areas is not confidential, as these areas were obvious to any member of the public who visited the park. These areas were also dressed with vines and non-native foliage (which was wilting a bit in UK weather conditions), so it was obvious what the area was being used for.

Section 8. A previous ICO decision states that private sector organisations carrying out filming must expect greater openness and transparency as to the relationship between them and public authorities

I would also refer you to the ICO decision notice FS50713352 which related to filming by a TV production company arranged with Bedfordshire Police. In that decision notice, the Commissioner stated that: "private sector organisation seeking to do business with a public authority must, as a matter of course, expect there to be a greater call for openness and transparency about the relationship between them. The Commissioner does not consider the statement that information is being withheld because it represents a party’s approach to contracts or agreements to be an adequate argument against its disclosure."

I consider that these arguments are very relevant in this case and are increased because the filming took place on publicly-owned/publicly accessible land and involved closing off some areas of the park to access by the public. The Commissioner concluded that section 43(2) did not apply in decision notice FS50713352 and I believe similar arguments apply in this case.

Section 9. The public interest test did not consider all of the relevant factors at the time of this request

I consider that the public interest did not reflect all of the factors in this case. As stated above, there has already been extensive online coverage of the Star Wars filming in Black Park and detailed photographs of the sets that were erected and the set dressing that was arranged. I believe that this extensive coverage largely removes the requirement for confidentiality in this case.

In addition, parts of Black Park are a site of Special Scientific Interest and as non-native plants (including tropical plants and vines) were imported for the Star Wars filming, there must be a public interest in ensuring that the sites of Special Scientific Interest were adequately protected and that non-native plants did not affect the park environment. There is also a public interest in ensuring that wildlife such as badgers were not disturbed during filming activity. The application makes specific reference to a badger sett.

As indicated above, signage which I viewed in September 2018 indicates that CCTV and guard dogs were being used at the filming sites. I have personal photographs of this signage. A security guard told someone trying to take photos of the site that photograph was not permitted. There is no reference in the disclosed information which indicates that the use of CCTV and guard dogs was permitted by the county council in granting the application, or that the council agreed that photography in Black Park by members of the public was being restricted.

Either the CCTV signage was incorrect and/or misleading, or the production company and its security guards went outside the restrictions set out in the application, without knowledge of the county council. There is a public interest in knowing which is the case by disclosing further details of the application.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

J Taylor

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

Please be assured that your email is important to us.

 

Your enquiry has been received and we will respond as soon as possible,
but the statutory deadline to respond is as follows:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 20 working days.

 

Subject access requests under Data Protection legislation should be
directed to [email address]

 

Further information on our services can be found at: www.buckscc.gov.uk

 

Information on the Council is available at:
https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun... and
independent guidance is available from the Information Commissioner at:
http://ico.org.uk/

 

 

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Team

[1]TTC
Buckinghamshire County Council

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Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Taylor

Please find attached letter in response to your request for an internal review, for your attention.

I trust this is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Scholes
Complaints Officer
Corporate Governance & Complaints
Resources
Room G29, New County Offices
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UA

show quoted sections

Dear Mailbox, Stage2,

Thank you for your email. I wish to make a new request for information under EIR/FOI.

1. The "declaration" section of the application lists a number of documents which were apparently attached to the application, such as health and safety policy/risk assessment/method statements; vehicle registration numbers and identifying logo; a letter of intent outlining what the production will involve. Please provide these documents.

2. As explained in previous correspondence, I understand that filming has now concluded and the sites have been returned to public access. Please confirm whether the sites used for filming have now been returned to public interest.

As also explained, a number of online sites such as Making Star Wars have published photographs of the Star Wars sets which were created at Black Park and I consider that this affects the duty of confidentiality in this case.

3. Please provide a map of the areas of Black Park which were used for filming.

4. Please confirm whether the council authorised use of CCTV and guard dogs to protect the areas that were used for filming. If so, please provide the identity of the data controller who operated the CCTV system.

Yours sincerely,

J Taylor

Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

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An Officer will send you further correspondence within the next 10 days.

 

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Buckinghamshire County Council

 

 

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Dear Mailbox, Stage2,

Question 2 in my new request should read:

2. As explained in previous correspondence, I understand that filming has now concluded and the sites have been returned to public access. Please confirm whether the sites used for filming have now been returned to public access/public use.

As also explained, a number of online sites such as Making Star Wars have published photographs of the Star Wars sets which were created at Black Park and I consider that this affects the duty of confidentiality in this case.

Yours sincerely,

J Taylor

Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL RESPONSE

 

Thank you for your email, which has been received by the Stage 2
Complaints Team mailbox.

 

An Officer will send you further correspondence within the next 10 days.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Buckinghamshire County Council

 

 

We want to ensure you have the opportunity to express your views,
participate in making decisions and are involved in shaping the services
we provide.

You can have your say on our consultations here.
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Buckinghamshire County Council

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Mailbox, Stage2, Buckinghamshire County Council

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    RE Internal review of Freedom of Information request Application for filming in Black Park.txt

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    RE Internal review of Freedom of Information request Application for filming in Black Park.txt

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Dear FOI Mailbox

 

Please see further request received from Mr Taylor in our Stage 2 Mailbox
on Sunday (4.11.18).  You will note that his request is slightly amended
as per the second email of the same date.

 

I have copied in Mr Taylor for information.

 

Please deal accordingly.

 

Many thanks

 

 

We want to ensure you have the opportunity to express your views,
participate in making decisions and are involved in shaping the services
we provide.

You can have your say on our consultations here.
[1]https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun...

[2]TTC
Buckinghamshire County Council

Visit our Web Site : [3]http://www.buckscc.gov.uk

Buckinghamshire County Council Email Disclaimer

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted
information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is
addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and
should be handled accordingly. If this Email has been misdirected, please
notify the author or [4][email address] immediately. If you are
not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print
or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all
copies must be deleted immediately. Whilst we take reasonable steps to try
to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may
nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to
identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before
opening any documents.

Buckinghamshire County Council will not accept any liability for damage
caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document
supplied with this email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

The views expressed in this email are not necessarily those of
Buckinghamshire County Council unless explicitly stated.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for content and
for the presence of computer viruses.

References

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1. https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun...
2. https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/coun...
3. http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]

J Taylor left an annotation ()

The redacted information includes the following things which might be of interest:

- One of the areas used for filming included a trench that was 2 feet deep and 40 feet in length in the 'training area' set.

- A platform and large 'head' creature were to be put by the lake by 'dog beach'.

- The stunts section says 'Pine Clearing "Chasm Jump" Telehandlers required for stunt high lines'.

- The application gives dates for site occupancy from 23 July 2018 to 12 October 2018 and 12 November 2018 to 14 December 2018. (Some of this time would have been for set construction and preparation and striking sets at the end of the filming. The application says that dates were subject to change).

J Taylor left an annotation ()

Just to add that the redacted information above is available in the disclosed document and can be seen if you zoom in and out of the document. (It becomes visible when you zoom in and out).