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Emergency Planning for The Shard

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Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

I would like to request the following information in relation to The Shard:

1. Any site-specific information stored on your CAD computer systems
2. The predetermined attendance for the response to an incident at The Shard
3. Any emergency plans or procedures you hold for an incident at The Shard, suitably redacted to uphold exemptions under Sections 31 (Law Enforcement) and 38 (Health and Safety) of the FOI Act
4. Any changes made to any of the above since Grenfell Tower, if held in an easily-accessible format

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade)

Dear Connor,

Thank you for your request.

This will be considered under the freedom of information act (2000) (FOIA).

As such we will respond within 20 working days.

Kind regards,

James Sivell

Information Access Manager
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

T: 020 8555 1200x30415
E: [email address]

london-fire.gov.uk

Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal information will be processed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the purpose of fire service administration. We will keep your details secure and will not disclose them to other organisations or third parties (except contractors or suppliers working on our behalf) without your permission unless we are legally required to do so. For more information about how we use your personal information, see our notification entry (Z7122455) at: www.ico.org.uk

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade)

Dear Connor,

Thank you for your request, dated 15 August 2017, regarding information on our operational response procedures when attending an incident at the Shard.

I can confirm that we do hold information relating to your request. However, we consider the information you are seeking exempt from disclosure under the FOIA via Section 24 – National Security.

Although this exemption applies, the Authority is required under the FOIA to consider the public interest. This requires us to consider if the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

Whilst we acknowledge there is a public interest in knowing that LFEPA has adequate procedures in place to deal with any incident regarding public safety, notably places of high public interest such as the Shard. The disclosure of these details would, or would be likely to provide anyone wanting to carry out acts of terrorism with a detailed plan of our pre planned emergency response and in turn damage the Authorities ability to respond efficiently, subsequently placing the publics safety at risk.

It is for this reason we conclude that the public interest in withholding the information, outweighs the public interest in disclosure. This e-mail acts as a public interest refusal notice under FOIA, in respect of this request for the notice.

I’m sorry this may not be the response you were after, but I hope you can understand our reasoning behind this decision.

Your request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). If you are dissatisfied by this response you can request an internal review by writing to the Head of Information Management and Performance at the address below (or email [email address]).

Further information about your information rights (including how to raise a concern or make a complaint) is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office on their website at www.ico.org.uk or by writing to them at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind Regards,

James Sivell

Information Access Manager
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

T: 020 8555 1200x30415
E: [email address]

london-fire.gov.uk

Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal information will be processed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the purpose of fire service administration. We will keep your details secure and will not disclose them to other organisations or third parties (except contractors or suppliers working on our behalf) without your permission unless we are legally required to do so. For more information about how we use your personal information, see our notification entry (Z7122455) at: www.ico.org.uk

Dear London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade)'s handling of my FOI request 'Emergency Planning for The Shard'.

I would like to contest your use of the Section 24 exemption for a number of reasons and request that you provide information suitably redacted. First and foremost, I don't believe that Section 24 would be the appropriate exemption if anything. I would argue that an incident at one single building in the Square Mile does not threaten the safety or security of the rest of England or the United Kingdom. If anything, a more appropriate exemption would be Section 31 Law Enforcement in the case of terrorism or Section 38 Health and Safety more generally.

In terms of the public interest test, I would argue that emphasis should be put on the concern of the public after the fire in Kensington in June. As I'm sure you will understand, many people working and living within the Square Mile will be concerned about their safety, and rightly so. I would only expect that this information being freely available, even if redacted for concerns of security issues, would seek to show that the LFEPA has plans and processes in place to protect those within the building and place their minds at ease.

I would also point out that I believe redaction of certain information such as specific locations (e.g. rendezvous points and Fire Assembly Points) and information as to staff details (exempt under Section 40 Personal Information) would be absolutely acceptable. However, I would contest that to refuse to release any information whatsoever is in the public interest. As such, I would ask that you review the request I made.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,
Connor A. Gurney

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade)

Hi Connor,

Your request for a review has been logged and we will begin processing shortly.

I will pass this on to the Head of Information Management - David Wyatt, who will now consider whether my response to your original request for information should stand or whether it should be changed taking into account the points you have raised in your email. You will receive a response promptly and in any case, no later than within 20 working days of the receipt of you request.

Kind Regards,

James Sivell

Information Access Manager
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

T: 020 8555 1200x30415
E: [email address]

london-fire.gov.uk

Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal information will be processed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the purpose of fire service administration. We will keep your details secure and will not disclose them to other organisations or third parties (except contractors or suppliers working on our behalf) without your permission unless we are legally required to do so. For more information about how we use your personal information, see our notification entry (Z7122455) at: www.ico.org.uk

John Smith left an annotation ()

What are you trying to achieve with all these various requests about emergency plans? For heaven's sake, there was a bomb attack on the Tube today which left dozens of people injured! Are you trying to do the terrorists' job for them?!

The Shard isn't in the Square Mile, it's on the other side of the River Thames - look at a map!!

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade)

3 Attachments

Mr Gurney ...

 

Your request, for the Brigade to review its response to your Freedom of
Information request, as set out in your email of 14 September 2017, has
been passed to me as I undertake internal reviews on behalf of the
Brigade.

 

On 15 August 2017, you made a request for information (our ref:
FOIA3274.1) as follows:

 

1. Any site-specific information stored on your CAD computer systems
[presumably in relation to The Shard]

2. The predetermined attendance for the response to an incident at The
Shard

3. Any emergency plans or procedures you hold for an incident at The
Shard, suitably redacted to uphold exemptions under Sections 31 (Law
Enforcement) and 38 (Health and Safety) of the FOI Act 4.

 

Any changes made to any of the above since Grenfell Tower, if held in an
easily-accessible format.

 

In the Brigade’s reply dated 13 August 2017 to your request, Mr James
Sivell confirmed that the Brigade held the information you had requested,
but relied on Section 24 – national security – to explain why the Brigade
could not provide information in response to your questions.  In his
response, I note that Mr Sivell carried out a public interest test, and
recognised the public interest in being reassured that the Brigade’s had
adequate arrangements in place.

 

In your email of 14 September 2017, requesting a review, you made the
following points:

 

·         You contested our use of the Section 24 exemption in that you
did not feel it was appropriate given that an incident in a single
building did not threaten the safety or security of the rest of England or
the UK. You suggested that Section 31 - law enforcement - in the case of
terrorism or Section 38 - health and safety - more generally.

 

·         In terms of the public interest test, you argue that emphasis
should be put on the concern of the public after the fire in Kensington in
June because many people working and living in London will be concerned
about their safety. You said that you would expect that the information
should be freely available, even if redacted for concerns of security
issues, to show that the LFEPA has plans and processes in place to protect
those within the building.

 

·         You suggested that redaction of certain information such as
specific locations (e.g. rendezvous points and Fire Assembly Points) and
information as to staff details (exempt under Section 40 Personal
Information) would be absolutely acceptable.

 

[For purposes of clarity: you use the term ‘square mile’ as the location
of The Shard a couple of times in your email requesting review; the
‘square mile’ normally equates to the City of London. Just to say that The
Shard in located outside the City and is located in the London Borough of
Southwark.]

 

In reviewing your request I have had regard to the Information
Commissioner’s [1]S24 guidance and have reviewed relevant ICO decision
notices where the use of S24 has been a consideration.

 

It is clear from ICO guidance that safeguarding national security also
includes protecting potential targets even if there is no evidence that an
attack in imminent. The Information Commissioner has recognised that
terrorists can be highly motivated and may go to great lengths to gather
intelligence. This means there may be grounds for withholding what seems
harmless information on the basis that it may assist terrorists when
pieced together with other information they may obtain.

 

Although such “mosaic” arguments arise when considering other exemptions
the issue in these cases is whether combining the requested information
with other information in the public domain will cause harm. In section 24
cases, the issue extends to whether the requested information will be
useful if combined with other information that terrorists may already have
or could obtain. The Information Commissioner also recognises that it may
be harder to say what additional information terrorists have access to or
what they may pick as a target. The Information Commissioner says that a
public authority will always need to be able to explain why it believes
disclosing the information could harm national security.

 

In the ICO decision notice FS50308040, the Information Commissioner
considered a request to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) for
the details of its fleet of vehicles. WYFRS operated the National Control
Centre for fire and rescue services which coordinates incidents of
national significance. The request had been refused on national security
grounds. WYFRS argued that disclosing the information would provide
sufficient information for someone to clone its vehicles. This would
provide a means for its headquarters, to be infiltrated.

Although there was no evidence presented that an attack was being planned,
the Commissioner accepted that the control centre was a realistic target
and that the explanation of how the information could be used was
plausible. Therefore the Commissioner found s24(1) was engaged.

 

You will acknowledge that The Shard is an iconic London building that does
attract significant numbers of visitors, both for business purposes, as
well as tourists who can visit the viewing gallery on the top floors; a
number of people also live and/or work in the building. My contention
would be that The Shard is a significant building in London, and
potentially presents a target for terrorists. The London Fire Brigade, by
revealing information about its plans to deal with emergency incidents at
The Shard, and its preparedness, could find that this information is used
by terrorists to help plan an attack and pre-empt actions by the Brigade.
As you can imagine, the Brigade’s tactical and other plans for The Shard
and other significant buildings/sites in London will contain information
about those buildings/sites that is not otherwise in the public domain,
and that information could be used to assess and identify vulnerabilities
and/or specific targets for terrorist action. The numbers of people
occupying The Shard during the day and night-time, containing office as
well as hotel/restaurant/residential accommodation, means that many
hundreds of people will be using the building at any time. The safety of
those people could be put at risk if the Brigade’s plans were to be
revealed, and that information combined with other information that is
available in the public domain, or that could be collected by someone
wishing to attack The Shard.

 

Having explained why we think S24 is an appropriate exemption, I do
believe that it is possible to provide you with more information than the
Brigade initially released and which does gets closer to answering some of
your original questions, and that this information, I believe, would
provide public reassurance that the Brigade has in place the necessary
information and plans to deal with a range of potential emergency
incidents at The Shard.  Taking your original questions in turn …

 

1. Any site-specific information stored on your CAD computer systems
[presumably in relation to The Shard]

Our CAD system contains little site specific information, and none in
relation to The Shard. The LFB does, however, maintain an operational risk
database (ORD). This contains the results of visits to different
buildings/sites by fire crews to identify any risks or hazards associated
with those buildings/sites that may be encountered by fire crews when
attending an emergency incident. The information is largely about ensuring
firefighter safety in the event of an incident, but does include (when
necessary) a ’tactical plan’ for the identified building. I can confirm
that The Shard has an entry on the LFB ORD, and that a tactical plan for
The Shard does exist. ORD data is available to control staff handling and
despatching resources to deal with emergency calls, as well as to crews
via the mobile data terminal (MDT) in fire engine cabs, and via a desktop
application at the fire station. The currency of entries on the ORD are
 maintained by programmed periodic return ‘outside duty’ visits to sites
by the local fire crew(s) carried out under section 7(2)(d) of the Fire
and Rescue Service Act 2004 (i.e. make arrangements for obtaining
information needed for the purpose of extinguishing fires, and protecting
life and property in the event of fires in its area). An ORD can contain
sensitive information about the building and its uses, and the location of
various hazards, that would not be in the public domain. The ORD data
collection arrangements including the frequency of revisits to any
particular buildings is determined by Brigade policy 800 ([2]available on
our web site) and includes a site specific ‘premises risk assessment’
(PRA). I believe that the content of the tactical plan, the PRA and the
frequency of LFB visit to The Shard engages S24 (national security)
because this information would be useful for any terrorist wishing to plan
an attack The Shard, or attempting to gather information (e.g. posing as
LFB staff) about The Shard in preparation for any attack.

 

2. The predetermined attendance for the response to an incident at The
Shard

The pre-determined attendance (PDA) to an emergency incident at The Shard
will vary depending on nature of the emergency identified by LFB control
when receiving an emergency call. There is no single PDA and it will vary
depending on the type of incident being attended. The Brigade’s minimum
attendance to any incident would be a single pumping appliances, which is
our standard PDA for a automatic fire alarm actuating in a non-residential
building. The PDA for a fire or suspected terrorist incident could
comprise many fire engines, and special appliances (e.g. aerial
appliances, fire rescue units, command units), as well as Brigade
officers. I do not believe it would be appropriate to be specific about
the actual PDA for different classes of emergency incident at The Shard
given our belief that S24 is engaged, because this information could be
useful to a terrorist planning an attack on The Shard.

 

3. Any emergency plans or procedures you hold for an incident at The
Shard… .

As advised in answer to question 1, the Brigade does hold a tactical plan
as part of the information on its ORD. I am unable to provide a copy of
this given that I believe Section 24 to be engaged. If you take a look at
our Policy 800 (link above) you can see the subject, headings and range of
risks that are collected, including via the premises risk assessment and
this should reassure you (and the public) that this is an in-depth
process. The tactical plan is available to attending crews via the fire
engine in-cab MDT. Another LFB policy (No 120) on the phased evacuation of
office buildings is published on our web site ([3]here) and may be
relevant and of interest to you.

 

Any changes made to any of the above since Grenfell Tower…

I can confirm that there was one ‘outside duty’ visit to The Shard
recorded on the ORD after the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June. This visit
was in September 2017. The ORD records, in relation to this visit, “no new
updates”.

 

In addition, I would draw your attention to material in the public domain
about the fire safety measures in The Shard which can easily be found by a
simple Internet search. For example, on the IFSEC Global web site
([4]here) you will find an article “Special Report: Total Fire Engineering
at The Shard”.

 

It is interesting that you suggest other exemptions which might be engaged
as a reason not to supply you with the information (which is unusual given
you want the information to be released). I can see that those exemptions
do have a bearing on this case, but for now I would prefer to stand behind
my explanation of our use of Section 24 which I believe is just and
reasonable. You may know that the Information Commissioner would permit us
to engage other exemptions (to the extent that they are appropriate) if
the matter is referred to them as a complaint, but I am hopeful that my
response satisfactorily explains our position to you and provides the
reassurances you were seeking.

 

I need to remind you that your request has been dealt with under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and that further information about your
information rights (including how to raise a concern or make a complaint)
is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office on their website
at [5]www.ico.org.uk or by writing to them at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Let me know if I can help you further.

 

 

David Wyatt
Head of Information Management
London Fire Brigade
169 Union Street  London  SE1 0LL
T: 020 8555 1200 x30352
M: 07775 826 404
E: [6][email address]

 

[7]london-fire.gov.uk

 

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