Decision not to include cycle facilities to current standard on M5 overbridge Bamfurlong Lane refurbishment

The request was successful.

Christopher Chiswell

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

Highways England is currently preparing plans to refurbish the M5 overbridge on Bamfurlong Lane. This is part of the national cycle network, and used by families cycling to access the leisure facilities at Gloucestershire Airport and playground recreation in Churchdown. The project involves a complete rebuild of the carriageway and current pavement.

Given the scale and expenditure on this project, a query was raised about using this opportunity to provide protection to current safety standards for cycle users on this short stretch of 50mph carriageway over a hump with limited sighting distance. Your reply (ref 22031721) said;

'When designing these works, we considered the needs of cyclists crossing the bridge and carried out a formal assessment. There are a number of safety concerns when considering adding new facilities, including the current width of the bridge and pavements, and the presence of farm access tracks with raised kerbs between the bridge and the next junction. The pavement to the east of the bridge is also not suitable for shared cycle/vehicle use. Although new parapets are being provided and the existing concrete barrier in the pavement will be removed, it was decided that we wouldn’t provide a new designated cycling facilities as part of these works.'

I would like to request
1) the formal assessment referenced, including the range of options and evidence considered, and any value for money assessments made
2) the latest safety assessment for cycle users on this section of road, as referenced in your reply, and including your base case assessment of safety with current infrastructure
3) documentation of the decision made to not include cycle facilities to current standards, including the roles/groups involved in making these decisions

Justification for the request is that the major works represent a significant moment to review and reconfigure highways space, and the decision to not include compliant cycle facilities merits scrutiny.

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Chiswell

foi@highwaysengland.co.uk,

 

 

 

Response to Information Request FOI/2331

Dear Christopher Chiswell

I am writing regarding your request for information which we received
26/08/2021 09:00:09.

In that request, you asked us for the following information:

 

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

Highways England is currently preparing plans to refurbish the M5
overbridge on Bamfurlong Lane. This is part of the national cycle network,
and used by families cycling to access the leisure facilities at
Gloucestershire Airport and playground recreation in Churchdown. The
project involves a complete rebuild of the carriageway and current
pavement.

Given the scale and expenditure on this project, a query was raised about
using this opportunity to provide protection to current safety standards
for cycle users on this short stretch of 50mph carriageway over a hump
with limited sighting distance. Your reply (ref 22031721) said;

'When designing these works, we considered the needs of cyclists crossing
the bridge and carried out a formal assessment. There are a number of
safety concerns when considering adding new facilities, including the
current width of the bridge and pavements, and the presence of farm access
tracks with raised kerbs between the bridge and the next junction. The
pavement to the east of the bridge is also not suitable for shared
cycle/vehicle use. Although new parapets are being provided and the
existing concrete barrier in the pavement will be removed, it was decided
that we wouldn’t provide a new designated cycling facilities as part of
these works.'

I would like to request

1) the formal assessment referenced, including the range of options and
evidence considered, and any value for money assessments made

2) the latest safety assessment for cycle users on this section of road,
as referenced in your reply, and including your base case assessment of
safety with current infrastructure

3) documentation of the decision made to not include cycle facilities to
current standards, including the roles/groups involved in making these
decisions

Justification for the request is that the major works represent a
significant moment to review and reconfigure highways space, and the
decision to not include compliant cycle facilities merits scrutiny.
 

We are dealing with your request under the provisions of the 2000 Freedom
of Information Act.

Unfortunately, your request is unclear, I will be unable to proceed with
your request without clarification of the specific information you wish to
receive.

To help us locate and identify this, could you tell us what documentation
you are requesting as part of your third question. For example, are you
seeking correspondence such as e-mails or letters, or are you referring to
other documentation. Please be a prescriptive as possible when describing
the information you are seeking.

Please note that if I do not receive appropriate clarification of your
information requirements within three months from the date of this letter,
then I will consider your request closed.

Please remember to quote reference number FOI/2331 in any future
communications about this response.

Kind regards

 

FOI Advice

 

Christopher Chiswell

Dear FOI team,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the request to ensure the correct information is made available.

For question 3, the request is seeking information to understand how the decision was taken to not include cycling provision compliant to current safety standards as part of this scheme (on the national cycle network), and whether a reasonable process was followed.

This could include, for example, a dated, written report submitted to a decision making Committee or individual, and their documented response either in the form of a meeting minute, action note or email of assent. Respecting that individuals cannot be named in FOI responses, the titles of key roles should be included to show the hierarchy of decision makers, and the appropriateness of this process against Highways England's stated objectives and governance procedures.

I assume questions 1 and 2 are of sufficient clarity to also receive a prompt reply.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Chiswell

foi@highwaysengland.co.uk,

 

Dear Christopher Chiswell

Thank you for your request relating to Decision not to include cycle
facilities to current standard on M5 overbridge Bamfurlong Lane
refurbishment dated 26/08/2021 09:00:09. 

The due date for issuing a response is 28/09/2021.

Please feel free to contact our team if you have any queries quoting
FOI/2331 in any future communications

Kind regards

 

FOI Advice

 

foi@highwaysengland.co.uk,

3 Attachments

 

Dear Christopher Chiswell

Decision not to include cycle facilities to current standard on M5 overbridge
Bamfurlong Lane refurbishment

Thank you for your information request dated 26/08/2021 regarding Decision
not to include cycle facilities to current standard on M5 overbridge
Bamfurlong Lane refurbishment. We have dealt with your request under the
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I can confirm that we hold the information you have requested.

Although not named as per your request, attached are the documents we
produce for such schemes. 

Attached is the WCHAR exemption note, which was done at detailed design
stage, confirming that a ‚ÄėWCHAR exemption‚Äô under the standard HD42 was
issued for the scheme and justification for that decision is listed in the
email (also attached). 

Also attached is our Non-Motorised User audit.

Please note that the documents have been redacted under Section 40 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 for personal information.

If you are not satisfied with your response you may ask for an internal
review within 40 working days of receiving the response, by replying to
this email. Our internal review process is available at:

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

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: [2][email address]

            Information Commissioner’s Office

            Wycliffe House

            Water Lane

            Wilmslow

            Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

Please remember to quote reference number FOI/2331 in any future
communications about this response.

Kind regards

 

South West Enquiries

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
2. mailto:[email address]

Christopher Chiswell

Dear [email address],

Thank you for your reply, and for the information provided.

There appears to be slightly excessive redaction of two documents, as the dates of the decisions are not visible on them and this was requested. I hope this can be resolved with a simple clarification rather than internal review, but please could you clarify
1) The date email 'M5 Bamfurlong Lane WHCAR Exemption 3.pdf' was sent
2) The date exemption notice 'Exemption Note Structures Bam Lane 1.pdf' was issued

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Chiswell

foi@highwaysengland.co.uk,

 

Dear Mr Chiswell,

Thank you for your e-mail.

With regards to the document containing the e-mail I do agree that the
redactions have been slightly excessive because as you point out the date
of the e-mail has been removed along with the names of the addressees. I
can confirm however that the e-mail was sent on 12 August 2020.

With regards to the second document 'Exemption Note Structures Bam Lane' I
can confirm that it was not actually dated, the redactions made are for
the name and the signature of person who signed the note, therefore the
date the note was actually issued is not known. However, the team who
provided the information in response to your request have estimated it
would have been issued around the same time as the e-mail that was
provided with the response, as it was provided to National Highways
(formerly Highways England) as an attachment to that e-mail. Therefore,
the estimated date of issue is 12 August 2020.

I trust the above has answered your questions and please accept my
apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Kind Regards

Jonathan Drysdale

Freedom of Information Officer

Christopher Chiswell

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, and for the clarifications.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Chiswell