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Flooding and drainage adjacent to Welkin Road Stockport

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Dear Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council,

1) Please provide copies of any agreements made between yourself and any other party relating to the ownership or upkeep/repair/maintenance of the brook/culvert or associated drainage infrastructure located at or adjacent to Welkin Road, Stockport.

2) As the lead flood authority for the area including Welkin Mill, please provide:
a) copy of any flood maps/risk assessments for the area including Welkin Mill.
b) records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.
c) records of any flood warning/notification policies or procedures to alert domestic and commercial properties of upcoming flooding that may affect their premises
d) records of any policies/procedures specifically relating to alerting occupiers of domestic or commercial properties that are subdivided into multiple units of potential flooding risks.
e) records of any meetings carried out internally or with any other parties concerning flood risk and alert/management strategies at the Welkin Mill site including any telephone calls or emails.

3) As per the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-wat...), owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law. Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the council meets these obligations.

4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits, internal telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land adjacent to Welkin Road.

5) Please confirm when, by whom, and for what purpose, the drainage brook/culvert located adjacent to Welkin Mill was constructed and provide any records or documents relating to the design and construction and any agreements for ongoing maintenance. Please also include any documents or records relating to permissions granted by Stockport Council to any other party to access council owned land for the purposes of constructing this infrastructure.

6) Please confirm who owns, and who is responsible for all sections of Welkin Road, including street lighting, drainage, road surfacing and removal of fly tipping.

7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at 16:23 on the 20th January 2021, please confirm:
a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent
b) what is the role of Helen Walters within the council
c) did the person or organisation to whom Helen was communicating comply with her request to forward the information contained on the email exchange to the owner of Welkin Mill, and if so, who at Welkin Mill was this sent to and at what time.
d) what is Helen referring to in the sentence "Helpful for us to know they have plans in place
– given they are located in a flood risk area, they do have the necessary [protection plans for
minimising disruption where ever possible." and what plans did she believe there to be in place

8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between Stockport Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners, employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th - 24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by the council.

9) In relation to an email sent by Sue Stevenson at 18:29 on 29th January 2021:
In the email Sue states:
"On Wednesday, the EA issued a flood warning and included the mill as a location at risk. When this was issued, SMBC officers contacted businesses to warn of the potential flood. One officer spoke to the landlord's agent at approx 2.00pm on Wendesady to warn of the flooding."
Please advise
a) who at Welkin Mill was contacted
b) how they were contacted
c) what was said
d) the name and position of the council officer concerned.
e) the exact time of this contact
f) who (job title or department) within the council gave the instruction for an officer to contact the landlord of Welkin Mill, and at what time did they give this instruction

Thank you for your help with this matter

Yours faithfully,

Matt Butler

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Environmental Information Request
Reference: EIR 5913268

Dear Mr Butler,

We have received and logged your information request which will be treated as a request made under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. Please quote your reference number in any correspondence.

We aim to provide final responses to EIR requests by no later than 20 working days after the day of receipt of a valid request.

If payment of a fee is required for providing the requested information, we will notify you within the above-mentioned 20 working day period, however such fees are usually waived if they amount to less than £10.

Documents held by Stockport Council may fall under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. If you receive a Council document and you wish to use that document for a new purpose, please identify the document in question and describe how you intend to re-use it. We will aim to respond to that request by no later than 20 working days.

Kindest regards,

Daniel Adshead
CSS Officer – Information Governance
C:Stockport Council | 1st Floor South Stopford House | Stockport | SK1 3XE
:
:[email address]
d:http://www.stockport.gov.uk
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show quoted sections

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

 

Dear Mr Butler,

 

I am contacting you regarding your information request which was logged
under the above reference number.

 

Your request is being processed, however I regret to inform you we will
not be able to provide a final response within the targeted 20 working
days.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of Stockport
Council for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

We will endeavour to provide a response to you as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert McCarten

CSS Officer – Information Governance

Stockport Council

Tel: 0161 474 3319

[1]https://www.stockport.gov.uk/

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Mr McCarten,

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

Thank you for your email. I would be grateful if you could provide a new target date by which I can expect to receive the requested information.

Please note that this matter has been referred to the Information Commissioner's office for review.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Butler

Dear FOI Officer,

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

Thank you for your email. I would be grateful if you could provide a new target date by which I can expect to receive the requested information.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Butler

Dear FOI Officer,

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

Thank you for your email. Further to my previous message, I would be grateful if you could provide a new target date by which I can expect to receive the requested information.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Butler

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

 

Dear Mr Butler,

Please consider this as our formal response to your information request
which was logged under the above reference number and has been treated as
a request made under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004.
Under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004, members of the
public are entitled to request environmental information from public
authorities. The Regulations cover any recorded information held by a
public authority. It is not limited to official documents, it can include
everything from drafts, emails, telephone recordings and notes. This list
is not exhaustive. Equally, the Regulations do not solely cover
information we create, they can incorporate any information which we have
in our possession.

However, the EIR does not cover information in someone’s head. We are
under no obligation to provide information that we do not already hold in
a recorded form, additionally, we are not required to create new
information to respond to an environmental information request or find the
answer to a question from a council employee who may just happen to know
it.

You can find more information on the Environmental Information Regulations
by visiting the [1]Information Commissioner's Office website or
[2]legislation.gov.uk.

Please find our response to your information request below:

1) Please provide copies of any agreements made between yourself and any
other party relating to the ownership or upkeep/repair/maintenance of the
brook/culvert or associated drainage infrastructure located at or adjacent
to Welkin Road, Stockport.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. However, we do not believe that any other
authority hold’s this information.

 

2) As the lead flood authority for the area including Welkin Mill, please
provide:

 

a) copy of any flood maps/risk assessments for the area including Welkin
Mill.

Under Regulation 6 (1)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, where an applicant requests that the information be made
available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it
so available, unless the information is already publicly available and
easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. This
information is publicly available on gov.uk which can be accessed [3]here.
You will be able to use the website to search for flood risks using a
properties postcode.

 

b) records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to
Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this
exception to our duty to comply with your information request as this
information is not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds
the information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the
name and address of that authority. We believe that this information may
be held by Highways England who can be contacted using the details below:

Highways England
National Traffic Operations Centre
3 Ridgeway
Quinton Business Park
Birmingham
B32 1AF
United Kingdom

Email - [4][email address]

Telephone - 0300 123 5000

c) records of any flood warning/notification policies or procedures to
alert domestic and commercial properties of upcoming flooding that may
affect their premises

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council does not manage flood warnings
however, members of the public are able to sign up to receive flood
warning notifications via gov.uk which can be accessed [5]here.

 

d) records of any policies/procedures specifically relating to alerting
occupiers of domestic or commercial properties that are subdivided into
multiple units of potential flooding risks.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council does not manage flood warnings
however, members of the public are able to sign up to receive flood
warning notifications via gov.uk which can be accessed [6]here.

 

e) records of any meetings carried out internally or with any other
parties concerning flood risk and alert/management strategies at the
Welkin Mill site including any telephone calls or emails.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. However, we do not believe that any other
authority hold’s this information.

 

3) As per the gov.uk website
([7]https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...),
owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law.
Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
the council meets these obligations.

Under Regulation 6 (1)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, where an applicant requests that the information be made
available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it
so available, unless the information is already publicly available and
easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. Stockport’s
Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is published on our website which can
be accessed [8]here. The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners
and other specific duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is
managed under the Place Directorate.

 

4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits, internal
telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to
contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin
Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road.

Prior to the January 2021 flooding, no records of inspections, site
visits, telephone calls or emails regarding works carried out and/or works
assigned to contractors relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to
Welkin Road or relating to drainage in general or the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and any council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road were held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough
Council. Post flood, an email was sent to Highways England requesting an
inspection and any necessary clearance to be undertaken. This email is the
only record we hold and has been attached EIR 5913268 (1).

Please note, the names of council officers and that of Highways England
staff members have been redacted from the attachment. We consider this
information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation 13(2)(a)(i)
(Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 as
the relevant individuals have not given their consent for their personal
data to be used for the purpose of this request. Communicating this
information to you would thereby be an act of unfair processing of
personal data in contravention of the first principle of the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider that there is no overriding
public interest in releasing the personal data in this case however,
releasing the redacted email complies with our transparency requirements
which is of significant public interest.

 

5) Please confirm when, by whom, and for what purpose, the drainage
brook/culvert located adjacent to Welkin Mill was constructed and provide
any records or documents relating to the design and construction and any
agreements for ongoing maintenance. Please also include any documents or
records relating to permissions granted by Stockport Council to any other
party to access council owned land for the purposes of constructing this
infrastructure.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. We believe that this information may be
held by Highways England who can be contacted using the details above and
The Department for Transport (DfT) whose contact details are below:

Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team
3rd Floor
One Priory Square
Hastings
TN34 1EA
United Kingdom

Email - [9][email address]
Telephone - 0300 330 3000

 

6) Please confirm who owns, and who is responsible for all sections of
Welkin Road, including street lighting, drainage, road surfacing and
removal of fly tipping.

Ownership - The Council does not own the road and is not responsible for
its street lighting, drainage or the road surface however, it is a public
right of way and the Council has some legal responsibilities in relation
to that designation. Details of land ownership can be found by contacting
the Land Registry.

The owner of the road is responsible for all aspects. Further information
can be found on:
[10]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Removal of fly tipping and other maintenance - Welkin Road is not owned by
the Council, and therefore all those responsibilities would lie with any
owners. It is a right of way, though, which means that the Public Rights
of Way Team may arrange removal of fly tipping which is on the road. The
landowners still should remove fly tipped refuse from the adjacent land.

7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at 16:23 on the
20th January 2021, please confirm:

a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent

We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation
13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request.
Communicating this information to you would thereby be an act of unfair
processing of personal data in contravention of the first principle of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider there to be no
overriding case for disclosure in the public interest or other
non-prejudicial legitimate interest therefore, we consider it appropriate
to apply an exception to our duty to comply with this part of your
request.
b) what is the role of Helen Walters within the council

Town Centre Manager

c) did the person or organisation to whom Helen was communicating comply
with her request to forward the information contained on the email
exchange to the owner of Welkin Mill, and if so, who at Welkin Mill was
this sent to and at what time.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

d) what is Helen referring to in the sentence "Helpful for us to know they
have plans in place – given they are located in a flood risk area, they do
have the necessary [protection plans for minimising disruption where ever
possible." and what plans did she believe there to be in place
As previously mentioned, the EIR does not cover information in someone’s
head. We are under no obligation to provide information that we do not
already hold in a recorded form, additionally, we are not required to
create new information to respond to an environmental information request
or find the answer to a question from a council employee who may just
happen to know it.
This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between Stockport
Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,
employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -
24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin
Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by
the council.

The only information held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is an
email sent by Helen Walters on the 20^th January 2021. Please find a copy
of the email attached EIR 5913268 (2). Please note, no record of the phone
call she refers to in the email is recorded by the council. As per our
response for question 7a) the name of the recipient has been redacted from
the email as we consider this information to be exempt from disclosure
under Regulation 13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental
Information Regulations (EIR) 2004.

 

9) In relation to an email sent by Sue Stevenson at 18:29 on 29th January
2021:

 

In the email Sue states:

 

"On Wednesday, the EA issued a flood warning and included the mill as a
location at risk. When this was issued, SMBC officers contacted businesses
to warn of the potential flood. One officer spoke to the landlord's agent
at approx 2.00pm on Wendesady to warn of the flooding."

 

Please advise

 

a) who at Welkin Mill was contacted

We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation
13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request.
Communicating this information to you would thereby be an act of unfair
processing of personal data in contravention of the first principle of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider there to be no
overriding case for disclosure in the public interest or other
non-prejudicial legitimate interest therefore, we consider it appropriate
to apply an exception to our duty to comply with this part of your
request.

 

b) how they were contacted

Phone call, followed by an email.

 

c) what was said

Please see the email attachment EIR 5913268 (2). As previously stated, the
phone call was not recorded therefore, this information is not held by
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the
Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004, a public authority may
refuse to disclose information to the extent that it does not hold that
information when an applicant’s request is received. Therefore, we
consider it appropriate to apply this exception to our duty to comply with
your information request as this information is not held by the council.

d) the name and position of the council officer concerned.

Helen Walters, Town Centre Manager

e) the exact time of this contact

The email was sent at 16:23 on 20/01/21. The phone call was not recorded
therefore, the exact time of contact cannot be provided.

f) who (job title or department) within the council gave the instruction
for an officer to contact the landlord of Welkin Mill, and at what time
did they give this instruction

Sue Stevenson, Head of Highways and Transportation.

A general email to key officers to contact businesses in areas identified
in EA flood warning was sent at 13.29 on the 20^th January.
We would like to take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of Stockport
Metropolitan Borough Council for the delay in responding to your
information request and any inconvenience this may have caused.

 

Documents held by Stockport Council may fall under the Re-Use of Public
Sector Information Regulations 2015. If you receive a Council document and
you wish to use that document for a new purpose, please identify the
document in question and describe how you intend to re-use it. We will aim
to respond to that request by no later than 20 working days.

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request for
information, you can ask for an internal review, however you must do so
within 40 working days from the date of this response. Any internal review
will be carried out by an officer who was not involved with your original
request. To request an internal review, please contact
[11][email address] or call 0161 474 4299, quoting your
reference number.

Following completion of an internal review, if you are dissatisfied with
the outcome, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
via the following contact points:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

[12]www.ico.gov.uk

 

0303 123 1113

 

Kindest regards,

 

Daniel Adshead

CSS Officer – Information Governance

+:Stockport Council | 1^st Floor South Stopford House | Stockport | SK1
3XE

(:

*:[13][email address]

::[14]http://www.stockport.gov.uk

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It is important to keep yourself and others safe from coronavirus - keep 2
metres away, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and wear a face
covering - [15]www.stockport.gov.uk/coronavirus

Confidentiality:- This email, its contents and any attachments are
intended only for the above named. As the email may contain confidential
or legally privileged information, if you are not, or suspect that you are
not, the above named or the person responsible for delivery of the message
to the above named, please delete or destroy the email and any attachments
immediately and inform the sender of the error.

References

Visible links
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6. https://flood-warning-information.servic...
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13. mailto:[email address]
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Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to request an internal review of my Environmental Information Regulations request under reference EIR 5913268.

Firstly, this request was submitted on the 24th February 2021 and should have been responded to within 20 working days. On the 23rd March 2021 an email was sent by Robert McCarten stating that the council would “not be able to provide a final response within the targeted 20 working days”.
I subsequently sent follow up messages on 23rd March, 13th April and 15th April requesting a new target date by when I could expect a response.
Please advise why the original due date was not met, why a replacement target date was not provided and why my multiple follow up emails were not replied to until the response was sent on 15th April.

In relation to point 2b of my request
I requested you to provide

“records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to
Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.”

You responded

“This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council…”
“…We believe that this information may
be held by Highways England…”

I believe that your first statement is incorrect.
I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company) have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.
It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company.
You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract. Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a written format.
Additionally, please confirm the reason why you believe that the information requested may be held by Highways England, as both of the subcontractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and there is no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

In relation to point 3 of my request.

I requested:
“3) As per the gov.uk website
(URL REMOVED),
owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law.
Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
the council meets these obligations.”

You responded:

“The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners
and other specific duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is
managed under the Place Directorate.”
Please explain what you mean by this.
I understand the term ‘riparian owner’ to be defined as follows:
“You are considered a “riparian owner” by law if you own land which is adjacent to a watercourse or land which has a watercourse running through or underneath it.”
Therefore, in the instance of land owned by Stockport Council which “is adjacent to a watercourse or land which has a watercourse running through or underneath it”, Stockport Council would be the riparian owner and therefore responsible for the legal obligations.
Please respond to my original request, which reads:
“Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
the council meets these obligations”

In relation to point 4 of my request:
I requested: “4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits, internal
telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to
contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin
Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road.”

You responded:
“Prior to the January 2021 flooding, no records of inspections, site
visits, telephone calls or emails regarding works carried out and/or works
assigned to contractors relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to
Welkin Road or relating to drainage in general or the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and any council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road were held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough
Council. Post flood, an email was sent to Highways England requesting an
inspection and any necessary clearance to be undertaken. This email is the
only record we hold and has been attached EIR 5913268 (1)…”

The document attached to your email with the filename “EIR 5913268 (1)” contains an email from 2019. Therefore it is impossible that this email was sent after a flood which occurred in January 2021. Please provide the email that was sent “post-flood”.
Additionally, please investigate as a priority why this discrepancy has occurred.

Your response also states “…This email is the only record we hold…”.
I believe this to be incorrect.
I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company) have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.
It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company.
You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract. Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a written format.
Both of the contractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and there is no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

In relation to point 7a of my request:
I requested: “7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at 16:23 on the
20th January 2021, please confirm:
a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent”

You responded:
“We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation
13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request…”

I did not request any personal information. I requested to know the job title of the person and/or the name of the organisation to which the email was sent.
If this was a public sector organisation, I believe that the information should be provided.
If this was a private sector organisation (or a private individual) then please state that this is the case.

In relation to point 8 of my request:

I requested:

“8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between Stockport
Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,
employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -
24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin
Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by
the council.”

You responded:

“The only information held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is an
email sent by Helen Walters on the 20^th January 2021. Please find a copy
of the email attached EIR 5913268 (2). ..”

I believe this statement to be incorrect. I understand that multiple phone calls were made to the council within the stated time period relating to this flooding. Please provide all records of these.

Please urgently review the above points and I look forward to your response.

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

Yours faithfully,

Matt Butler

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr. Butler

We have received your request for an internal review of the information request submitted under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 which was logged under the above reference number.

In accordance with Regulation 11 of the EIR 2004, we will carry out an internal review of the request to determine whether we have complied with our requirements under the regulations.

We will aim to respond to you by no later than 40 working days from the day of receipt of your internal review request, in accordance with Chapter XII, Section 63 of the Code of Practice on the discharge of the obligations of public authorities under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Kind regards

Tracey Webb
Senior Officer, Information Governance
Stockport Council | 1st Floor South Stopford House | Stockport | SK1 3XE
Direct Dial: 0161 474 4022
IG Main: 0161 474 4299
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr. Butler

 

Re: Internal Review request

 

As a member of staff who was not involved in your Environmental
Information Regulation (EIR) request, I have undertaken an internal review
of the Council’s response to your request.

 

I have considered your original request of the 24/02/2021 and your
correspondence of the 15/04/2021 in which you requested an internal
review.

 

I have discussed your request with staff involved in this matter.  I have
had discussions with staff in Information Governance and the Highways and
Transport team.

 

BACKGROUND

 

You submitted a FOI request to the Council on the 24/04/2021. This was in
relation to:

 

With reference EIR 5913268

 

Dear Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council,

 

1) Please provide copies of any agreements made between yourself and any
other party relating to the ownership or upkeep/repair/maintenance of the
brook/culvert or associated drainage infrastructure located at or adjacent
to Welkin Road, Stockport.

 

2) As the lead flood authority for the area including Welkin Mill, please
provide:

 

a) copy of any flood maps/risk assessments for the area including Welkin
Mill.

 

b) records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to
Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.

 

c) records of any flood warning/notification policies or procedures to
alert domestic and commercial properties of upcoming flooding that may
affect their premises

 

d) records of any policies/procedures specifically relating to alerting
occupiers of domestic or commercial properties that are subdivided into
multiple units of potential flooding risks.

 

e) records of any meetings carried out internally or with any other
parties concerning flood risk and alert/management strategies at the
Welkin Mill site including any telephone calls or emails.

 

3) As per the gov.uk website
([1]https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...),
owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law.
Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
the council meets these obligations.

 

4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits, internal
telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to
contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin
Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road.

 

5) Please confirm when, by whom, and for what purpose, the drainage
brook/culvert located adjacent to Welkin Mill was constructed and provide
any records or documents relating to the design and construction and any
agreements for ongoing maintenance. Please also include any documents or
records relating to permissions granted by Stockport Council to any other
party to access council owned land for the purposes of constructing this
infrastructure.

 

6) Please confirm who owns, and who is responsible for all sections of
Welkin Road, including street lighting, drainage, road surfacing and
removal of fly tipping.

 

7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at 16:23 on the
20th January 2021, please confirm:

 

a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent

 

b) what is the role of Helen Walters within the council

 

c) did the person or organisation to whom Helen was communicating comply
with her request to forward the information contained on the email
exchange to the owner of Welkin Mill, and if so, who at Welkin Mill was
this sent to and at what time.

 

d) what is Helen referring to in the sentence "Helpful for us to know they
have plans in place

 

– given they are located in a flood risk area, they do have the necessary
[protection plans for

 

minimising disruption where ever possible." and what plans did she believe
there to be in place

 

8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between Stockport
Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,
employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -
24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin
Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by
the council.

 

9) In relation to an email sent by Sue Stevenson at 18:29 on 29th January
2021:

 

In the email Sue states:

 

"On Wednesday, the EA issued a flood warning and included the mill as a
location at risk. When this was issued, SMBC officers contacted businesses
to warn of the potential flood. One officer spoke to the landlord's agent
at approx 2.00pm on Wendesady to warn of the flooding."

 

Please advise

 

a) who at Welkin Mill was contacted

 

b) how they were contacted

 

c) what was said

 

d) the name and position of the council officer concerned.

 

e) the exact time of this contact

 

f) who (job title or department) within the council gave the instruction
for an officer to contact the landlord of Welkin Mill, and at what time
did they give this instruction

 

Thank you for your help with this matter

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Matt Butler

 

 

This request was acknowledged by the Council on the 25/02/2021

 

 

Stockport Council responded to you on the 15/04/2021 as follows:

 

 

Our response:

 

Environmental Information Request

Reference: EIR 5913268

 

Dear Mr. Butler,

Please consider this as our formal response to your information request
which was logged under the above reference number and has been treated as
a request made under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004.
Under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004, members of the
public are entitled to request environmental information from public
authorities. The Regulations cover any recorded information held by a
public authority. It is not limited to official documents, it can include
everything from drafts, emails, telephone recordings and notes. This list
is not exhaustive. Equally, the Regulations do not solely cover
information we create, they can incorporate any information which we have
in our possession.

However, the EIR does not cover information in someone’s head. We are
under no obligation to provide information that we do not already hold in
a recorded form, additionally, we are not required to create new
information to respond to an environmental information request or find the
answer to a question from a council employee who may just happen to know
it.

You can find more information on the Environmental Information Regulations
by visiting the [2]Information Commissioner's Office website or
[3]legislation.gov.uk.

Please find our response to your information request below:

1) Please provide copies of any agreements made between yourself and any
other party relating to the ownership or upkeep/repair/maintenance of the
brook/culvert or associated drainage infrastructure located at or adjacent
to Welkin Road, Stockport.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. However, we do not believe that any other
authority hold’s this information.

 

2) As the lead flood authority for the area including Welkin Mill, please
provide:

 

a) copy of any flood maps/risk assessments for the area including Welkin
Mill.

Under Regulation 6 (1)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, where an applicant requests that the information be made
available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it
so available, unless the information is already publicly available and
easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. This
information is publicly available on gov.uk which can be accessed [4]here.
You will be able to use the website to search for flood risks using a
properties postcode.

 

b) records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to
Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. We believe that this information may be
held by Highways England who can be contacted using the details below:

Highways England
National Traffic Operations Centre
3 Ridgeway
Quinton Business Park
Birmingham
B32 1AF
United Kingdom

Email - [5][email address]

Telephone - 0300 123 5000

 

c) records of any flood warning/notification policies or procedures to
alert domestic and commercial properties of upcoming flooding that may
affect their premises

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council does not manage flood warnings
however, members of the public are able to sign up to receive flood
warning notifications via gov.uk which can be accessed [6]here.

 

d) records of any policies/procedures specifically relating to alerting
occupiers of domestic or commercial properties that are subdivided into
multiple units of potential flooding risks.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council does not manage flood warnings
however, members of the public are able to sign up to receive flood
warning notifications via gov.uk which can be accessed [7]here.

 

e) records of any meetings carried out internally or with any other
parties concerning flood risk and alert/management strategies at the
Welkin Mill site including any telephone calls or emails.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. However, we do not believe that any other
authority hold’s this information.

 

3) As per the gov.uk website
([8]https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
watercourse&data=04%7C01%7CFOI.officer%40stockport.gov.uk%7Cbf80561c9a4c4b3951ca08d8d8fd4458%7Ca05ef69e61494fbaa40cdf338810f644%7C0%7C0%7C637497929581525006%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=6qnQ9vv9HsKZndG4oCrA4sF6XxzEqjusdcP8OutihCE%3D&reserved=0),
owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law.
Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
the council meets these obligations.

Under Regulation 6 (1)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, where an applicant requests that the information be made
available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it
so available, unless the information is already publicly available and
easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. Stockport’s
Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is published on our website which can
be accessed [9]here. The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners
and other specific duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is
managed under the Place Directorate.

 

4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits, internal
telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to
contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin
Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road.

Prior to the January 2021 flooding, no records of inspections, site
visits, telephone calls or emails regarding works carried out and/or works
assigned to contractors relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to
Welkin Road or relating to drainage in general or the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and any council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road were held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough
Council. Post flood, an email was sent to Highways England requesting an
inspection and any necessary clearance to be undertaken. This email is the
only record we hold and has been attached EIR 5913268 (1).

Please note, the names of council officers and that of Highways England
staff members have been redacted from the attachment. We consider this
information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation 13(2)(a)(i)
(Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 as
the relevant individuals have not given their consent for their personal
data to be used for the purpose of this request. Communicating this
information to you would thereby be an act of unfair processing of
personal data in contravention of the first principle of the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider that there is no overriding
public interest in releasing the personal data in this case however,
releasing the redacted email complies with our transparency requirements
which is of significant public interest.

 

5) Please confirm when, by whom, and for what purpose, the drainage
brook/culvert located adjacent to Welkin Mill was constructed and provide
any records or documents relating to the design and construction and any
agreements for ongoing maintenance. Please also include any documents or
records relating to permissions granted by Stockport Council to any other
party to access council owned land for the purposes of constructing this
infrastructure.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. We believe that this information may be
held by Highways England who can be contacted using the details above and
The Department for Transport (DfT) whose contact details are below:

Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team
3rd Floor
One Priory Square
Hastings
TN34 1EA
United Kingdom

Email - [10][email address]
Telephone - 0300 330 3000

 

6) Please confirm who owns, and who is responsible for all sections of
Welkin Road, including street lighting, drainage, road surfacing and
removal of fly tipping.

Ownership - The Council does not own the road and is not responsible for
its street lighting, drainage or the road surface however, it is a public
right of way and the Council has some legal responsibilities in relation
to that designation. Details of land ownership can be found by contacting
the Land Registry.

The owner of the road is responsible for all aspects. Further information
can be found on:
[11]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Removal of fly tipping and other maintenance - Welkin Road is not owned by
the Council, and therefore all those responsibilities would lie with any
owners. It is a right of way, though, which means that the Public Rights
of Way Team may arrange removal of fly tipping which is on the road. The
landowners still should remove fly tipped refuse from the adjacent land.

7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at 16:23 on the
20th January 2021, please confirm:

a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent

We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation
13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request.
Communicating this information to you would thereby be an act of unfair
processing of personal data in contravention of the first principle of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider there to be no
overriding case for disclosure in the public interest or other
non-prejudicial legitimate interest therefore, we consider it appropriate
to apply an exception to our duty to comply with this part of your
request.
b) what is the role of Helen Walters within the council

Town Centre Manager

c) did the person or organisation to whom Helen was communicating comply
with her request to forward the information contained on the email
exchange to the owner of Welkin Mill, and if so, who at Welkin Mill was
this sent to and at what time.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

d) what is Helen referring to in the sentence "Helpful for us to know they
have plans in place – given they are located in a flood risk area, they do
have the necessary [protection plans for minimising disruption where ever
possible." and what plans did she believe there to be in place

As previously mentioned, the EIR does not cover information in someone’s
head. We are under no obligation to provide information that we do not
already hold in a recorded form, additionally, we are not required to
create new information to respond to an environmental information request
or find the answer to a question from a council employee who may just
happen to know it.

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

 

8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between Stockport
Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,
employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -
24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin
Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by
the council.

The only information held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is an
email sent by Helen Walters on the 20th January 2021. Please find a copy
of the email attached EIR 5913268 (2). Please note, no record of the phone
call she refers to in the email is recorded by the council. As per our
response for question 7a) the name of the recipient has been redacted from
the email as we consider this information to be exempt from disclosure
under Regulation 13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental
Information Regulations (EIR) 2004.

 

9) In relation to an email sent by Sue Stevenson at 18:29 on 29th January
2021:

 

In the email Sue states:

 

"On Wednesday, the EA issued a flood warning and included the mill as a
location at risk. When this was issued, SMBC officers contacted businesses
to warn of the potential flood. One officer spoke to the landlord's agent
at approx 2.00pm on Wendesady to warn of the flooding."

 

Please advise

 

a) who at Welkin Mill was contacted

We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation
13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request.
Communicating this information to you would thereby be an act of unfair
processing of personal data in contravention of the first principle of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider there to be no
overriding case for disclosure in the public interest or other
non-prejudicial legitimate interest therefore, we consider it appropriate
to apply an exception to our duty to comply with this part of your
request.

 

b) how they were contacted

Phone call, followed by an email.

 

c) what was said

Please see the email attachment EIR 5913268 (2). As previously stated, the
phone call was not recorded therefore, this information is not held by
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the
Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004, a public authority may
refuse to disclose information to the extent that it does not hold that
information when an applicant’s request is received. Therefore, we
consider it appropriate to apply this exception to our duty to comply with
your information request as this information is not held by the council.
d) the name and position of the council officer concerned.

Helen Walters, Town Centre Manager

e) the exact time of this contact

The email was sent at 16:23 on 20/01/21. The phone call was not recorded
therefore, the exact time of contact cannot be provided.

f) who (job title or department) within the council gave the instruction
for an officer to contact the landlord of Welkin Mill, and at what time
did they give this instruction

Sue Stevenson, Head of Highways and Transportation.

 

A general email to key officers to contact businesses in areas identified
in EA flood warning was sent at 13.29 on the 20th January.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of Stockport
Metropolitan Borough Council for the delay in responding to your
information request and any inconvenience this may have caused.

 

Documents held by Stockport Council may fall under the Re-Use of Public
Sector Information Regulations 2015. If you receive a Council document and
you wish to use that document for a new purpose, please identify the
document in question and describe how you intend to re-use it. We will aim
to respond to that request by no later than 20 working days.

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request for
information, you can ask for an internal review, however you must do so
within 40 working days from the date of this response. Any internal review
will be carried out by an officer who was not involved with your original
request. To request an internal review, please contact
[12][email address] or call 0161 474 4299, quoting your
reference number.

Following completion of an internal review, if you are dissatisfied with
the outcome, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
via the following contact points:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

[13]www.ico.gov.uk

 

0303 123 1113

 

Kindest regards,

 

Daniel Adshead

 

 

You responded on the 17/04/2021 as follows:

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I am writing to request an internal review of my Environmental Information
Regulations request under reference EIR 5913268.

 

Firstly, this request was submitted on the 24th February 2021 and should
have been responded to within 20 working days. On the 23rd March 2021 an
email was sent by Robert McCarten stating that the council would “not be
able to provide a final response within the targeted 20 working days”.

 

I subsequently sent follow up messages on 23rd March, 13th April and 15th
April requesting a new target date by when I could expect a response.

 

Please advise why the original due date was not met, why a replacement
target date was not provided and why my multiple follow up emails were not
replied to until the response was sent on 15th April.

 

In relation to point 2b of my request

 

I requested you to provide

 

“records of any site visits/inspections/works carried out at or near to

 

Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding and drainage.”

 

You responded

 

“This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough
Council…”“…We believe that this information may be held by Highways
England…”

 

I believe that your first statement is incorrect.

 

I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George
Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company)
have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.

 

It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having
instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by
George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally
Local Company.

 

You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three
parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for
their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract.
Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the
council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to
perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a
written format.

 

Additionally, please confirm the reason why you believe that the
information requested may be held by Highways England, as both of the
subcontractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and there is
no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

 

In relation to point 3 of my request.

 

I requested:

 

“3) As per the gov.uk website

 

(URL REMOVED),

 

owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under the law.

 

Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that

the council meets these obligations.”

 

You responded:

 

“The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners and other specific
duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is managed under the
Place Directorate.”

 

Please explain what you mean by this.

 

I understand the term ‘riparian owner’ to be defined as follows:

 

“You are considered a “riparian owner” by law if you own land which is
adjacent to a watercourse or land which has a watercourse running through
or underneath it.”

 

Therefore, in the instance of land owned by Stockport Council which “is
adjacent to a watercourse or land which has a watercourse running through
or underneath it”, Stockport Council would be the riparian owner and
therefore responsible for the legal obligations.

 

Please respond to my original request, which reads:

 

“Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures
designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in
these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department
within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that

the council meets these obligations”

 

In relation to point 4 of my request:

 

I requested: “4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits,
internal telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned
to contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin
Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land
including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road.”

 

You responded:

 

“Prior to the January 2021 flooding, no records of inspections, site
visits, telephone calls or emails regarding works carried out and/or works
assigned to contractors relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to
Welkin Road or relating to drainage in general or the surrounding land

including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and any council-owned land
adjacent to Welkin Road were held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough
Council. Post flood, an email was sent to Highways England requesting an
inspection and any necessary clearance to be undertaken. This email is the
only record we hold and has been attached EIR 5913268 (1)…”

 

The document attached to your email with the filename “EIR 5913268 (1)”
contains an email from 2019. Therefore it is impossible that this email
was sent after a flood which occurred in January 2021. Please provide the
email that was sent “post-flood”.

 

Additionally, please investigate as a priority why this discrepancy has
occurred.

 

Your response also states “…This email is the only record we hold…”.

 

I believe this to be incorrect.

 

I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George
Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company)
have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.

 

It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having
instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by
George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally
Local Company.

 

You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three
parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for
their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract.
Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the
council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to
perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a
written format.

 

Both of the contractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and
there is no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

 

In relation to point 7a of my request:

 

I requested: “7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at
16:23 on the

 

20th January 2021, please confirm:

 

a) to whom (job title or organisation name) was the email sent”

 

You responded:

 

“We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under
Regulation

 

13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for
their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request…”

 

 

I did not request any personal information. I requested to know the job
title of the person and/or the name of the organisation to which the email
was sent.

 

If this was a public sector organisation, I believe that the information
should be provided.

 

If this was a private sector organisation (or a private individual) then
please state that this is the case.

 

In relation to point 8 of my request:

 

I requested:

 

“8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between
Stockport

 

Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,

 

employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -

 

24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin

 

Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by

 

the council.”

 

You responded:

 

“The only information held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is an

 

email sent by Helen Walters on the 20^th January 2021. Please find a copy

 

of the email attached EIR 5913268 (2). ..”

 

I believe this statement to be incorrect. I understand that multiple phone
calls were made to the council within the stated time period relating to
this flooding. Please provide all records of these.

 

Please urgently review the above points and I look forward to your
response.

 

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[14]https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Matt Butler

 

 

MY INVESTIGATION

 

My investigation looked at two aspects: the timeliness of the Council
response and the information provided to you.

 

The Council has 20 days to respond to FOI/EIR queries; your request was
dated the 24/02/2021 and acknowledged by the Council on the 25/02/2021

The Council failed to respond to your FOI/EIR request which was not within
the 20 day deadline. I wish to sincerely apologise for the delay in
responding to you.

 

Secondly, the information provided to you.

 

I met with Highways and Transport on the 26/04/2021 and on the 01/06/2021
and gathered information pertaining to your requests at these meetings. 

 

 

DECISION

 

Following my investigation, I have arrived at the following conclusions:

 

My conclusion is that the Council provided you with a response which
attempted to answer the questions so far as possible and advised you that
no records/recordings were held.

 

Clarification:

In relation to point 2b of my request

 

I requested you to provide “records of any site visits/inspections/works
carried out at or near to Welkin Mill/Welkin Road in relation to flooding
and drainage.”

 

You responded; “This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan
Borough Council…”“…We believe that this information may be held by
Highways England…”

 

I believe that your first statement is incorrect.

 

I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George
Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company)
have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.

 

It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having
instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by
George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally
Local Company.

 

You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three
parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for
their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract.
Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the
council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to
perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a
written format.

 

This information is not held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Under Regulation 12 (4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the
extent that it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request
is received. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply this exception
to our duty to comply with your information request as this information is
not held by the council.

 

 

Additionally, please confirm the reason why you believe that the
information requested may be held by Highways England, as both of the
subcontractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and there is
no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

 

Under Regulation 10 (1)(b) of the EIR, where a public authority that
receives a request for environmental information does not hold the
information requested but believes that another public authority holds the
information, the public authority shall supply the applicant with the name
and address of that authority. We believe that this information may be
held by Highways England who can be contacted using the details below:

 

Highways England

National Traffic Operations Centre

3 Ridgeway

Quinton Business Park

Birmingham

B32 1AF

United Kingdom

Email - [15][email address]

Telephone - 0300 123 5000

 

In relation to point 3 of my request. I requested: “3) As per the gov.uk
website

 

(URL REMOVED), owners of a watercourse have certain responsibilities under
the law. Please provide any internal records or copies of
policies/procedures

 

designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in

 

these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department

 

within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that

 

the council meets these obligations.”

 

You responded:

 

“The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners

 

and other specific duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is

 

managed under the Place Directorate.”

 

Please explain what you mean by this.

 

 

Therefore, in the instance of land owned by Stockport Council which “is
adjacent to a watercourse or land which has a watercourse running through
or underneath it”, Stockport Council would be the riparian owner and
therefore responsible for the legal obligations.

 

As the lead Local Authority in the area, we are responsible to carry out
some duties, however the actual Riparian Owner has a legal duty to
maintain, but the Riparian Owner has not yet been determined.

 

Please respond to my original request, which reads:

 

“Please provide any internal records or copies of policies/procedures

 

designed to ensure that Stockport Council meets its legal obligations in

 

these matters. Additionally, please confirm which person or department

 

within the council would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that

 

the council meets these obligations”

 

Under Regulation 6 (1)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR) 2004, where an applicant requests that the information be made
available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it
so available, unless the information is already publicly available and
easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. Stockport’s
Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is published on our website which can
be accessed here. The legal obligations belong to the riparian owners and
other specific duties are with the Lead Local Flood Authority which is
managed under the Place Directorate.

 

In relation to point 4 of my request:

 

I requested: “4) Please provide any records of inspections, site visits,
internal

 

telephone calls or emails, works carried out and works assigned to

 

contractors, relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin

 

Road, and relating to drainage in general on the surrounding land

 

including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and the council-owned land

 

adjacent to Welkin Road.”

 

 

You responded:

 

“Prior to the January 2021 flooding, no records of inspections, site

 

visits, telephone calls or emails regarding works carried out and/or works

 

assigned to contractors relating to the drainage brook/culvert adjacent to

 

Welkin Road or relating to drainage in general or the surrounding land

 

including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and any council-owned land

 

adjacent to Welkin Road were held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough

 

Council. Post flood, an email was sent to Highways England requesting an

 

inspection and any necessary clearance to be undertaken. This email is the

 

only record we hold and has been attached EIR 5913268 (1)…”

 

 

 

The document attached to your email with the filename “EIR 5913268 (1)”
contains an email from 2019. Therefore it is impossible that this email
was sent after a flood which occurred in January 2021. Please provide the
email that was sent “post-flood”.

 

Additionally, please investigate as a priority why this discrepancy has
occurred.

 

 

I wish to apologies for this discrepancy. The correct response should have
been clearer and the Council should have explained the reason for the
attachments.

Please find our revised response:

 

The Council did actually hold two records in total relating to works
carried out and works assigned to contractors, relating to the drainage
brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin Road, and relating to drainage in general
on the surrounding land including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and
the council-owned land adjacent to Welkin Road.”, One from 2019 which we
felt was relevant to your EIR, which is why it was attached to our
original response. Our response should have been clearer and stated that
we actually held two record relating to flooding, one from September 2019
and one from January 2021, but our response contradicted this.  Please
accept my apologies for this error.

 

 

Your response also states “…This email is the only record we hold…”.

 

I believe this to be incorrect.

 

I understand that a council engineer named Graham, a contractor (George
Cox) and a subcontractor (Tree Station on behalf of Totally Local Company)
have all worked at this location within the past 4 months.

 

It seems very unlikely that the council has no records of having
instructed a) a site visit by Graham the engineer, b) works carried out by
George Cox and c) works carried out by Tree Station on behalf of Totally
Local Company.

 

You must have records relating to the attendance on site of the three
parties mentioned above and the fact that they will have been paid for
their work, either on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing contract.
Since the two contractors were engaged by the council, someone within the
council must have communicated to them what the work you wished them to
perform consisted of, and it seems very likely that this was done in a
written format.

 

Both of the contractors mentioned were instructed by Stockport Council and
there is no reason to believe that Highways England had any involvement.

 

I wish to apologies for this discrepancy. The correct response should have
been clearer and the Council should have explained the reason for the
attachments.

Please find our revised response:

 

The Council did actually hold two records in total relating to works
carried out and works assigned to contractors, relating to the drainage
brook/culvert adjacent to Welkin Road, and relating to drainage in general
on the surrounding land including Welkin Road, the Welkin Mill complex and
the council-owned land adjacent to Welkin Road.”, One from 2019 which we
felt was relevant to your EIR, which is why it was attached to our
original response. Our response should have been clearer and stated that
we actually held two record relating to flooding, one from September 2019
and one from January 2021, but our response contradicted this.  Please
accept my apologies for this error.

 

In relation to point 7a of my request:

 

I requested: “7) In relation to an email that was sent by Helen Walters at
16:23 on the 20th January 2021, please confirm: a) to whom (job title or
organisation name) was the email sent”

 

You responded: “We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure
under Regulation

 

13(2)(a)(i) (Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations

 

(EIR) 2004 as the individual concerned has not given their consent for

 

their personal data to be used for the purpose of this request…”

 

I did not request any personal information. I requested to know the job
title of the person and/or the name of the organisation to which the email
was sent.

 

If this was a public sector organisation, I believe that the information
should be provided.

 

If this was a private sector organisation (or a private individual) then
please state that this is the case.

 

I wish to clarify, it was a private individual, therefore, we consider
this information to be exempt from disclosure under Regulation 13(2)(a)(i)
(Personal data) of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 as
the individual concerned has not given their consent for their personal
data to be used for the purpose of this request. Communicating this
information to you would thereby be an act of unfair processing of
personal data in contravention of the first principle of the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider there to be no overriding case
for disclosure in the public interest or other non-prejudicial legitimate
interest therefore, we consider it appropriate to apply an exception to
our duty to comply with this part of your request.

 

In relation to point 8 of my request: I requested:

 

“8) Please provide records/copies of any/all contact made between
Stockport

 

Council and the owners, employees or agents of Welkin Mill, or the owners,

 

employees or agents of any tenant within Welkin Mill, between the 18th -

 

24th January 2021 in relation to flooding at Welkin Mill/Welkin

 

Road/adjacent culvert blockages to include any flood warnings issued by

 

the council.” You responded:

“The only information held by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is an

 

email sent by Helen Walters on the 20^th January 2021. Please find a copy

 

of the email attached EIR 5913268 (2). ..”

 

I believe this statement to be incorrect. I understand that multiple phone
calls were made to the council within the stated time period relating to
this flooding. Please provide all records of these.

 

As already confirmed, no phone calls were recorded by the council,
therefore no records are held.

 

NEXT STEPS

 

I hope that this internal review addresses your concerns.  However, if you
are unhappy with the outcome of this internal review, you are entitled to
complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

[16]www.ico.gov.uk

Tel: 01625 545 745

 

Yours sincerely

 

Tracey Webb

Senior Information Governance Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

 

 

 

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completely removing all your data, and refurbish it for someone who
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not, the above named or the person responsible for delivery of the message
to the above named, please delete or destroy the email and any attachments
immediately and inform the sender of the error.

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