Hammersmith Bridge structural survey

Owen Sheppard made this Freedom of Information request to Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

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Waiting for an internal review by Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council,

In 2014 the council commissioned a 'comprehensive structural integrity review' of Hammersmith Bridge.

This review began in 2015.

These facts are outlined in a recent article published by the council: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/20...

I would like to receive copies of all reports that detail the outcomes of this review.

I am aware that the council has previously refused requests of this nature, most notably one submitted by MP Greg Hands, on the basis that it should be exempt under "national security" grounds.

However I believe this exemption is forfeit as the council's leadership have already publicly communicated in detail the structural problems with the bridge, namely the many (more than 30) microfractures in its pedestals. For example, this was explained at a Community Safety and Environment Policy and Accountability Committee on September 16, which was broadcast on YouTube.

Therefore publishing said reports that I am requesting would not create a substantial risk to the security of the bridge, as the bridge's weaknesses are already in the public domain.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Sheppard

H and F In Touch, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

Our reference: 1840508
 
 
Dear Sir/Madam 
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 21
September 2020.  Your request has been summarised as follows:
 
In 2014 the council commissioned a 'comprehensive structural integrity
review' of Hammersmith Bridge.

This review began in 2015.

These facts are outlined in a recent article published by the council:
https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/20...

I would like to receive copies of all reports that detail the outcomes of
this review.

I am aware that the council has previously refused requests of this
nature, most notably one submitted by MP Greg Hands, on the basis that it
should be exempt under "national security" grounds.

However I believe this exemption is forfeit as the council's leadership
have already publicly communicated in detail the structural problems with
the bridge, namely the many (more than 30) microfractures in its
pedestals. For example, this was explained at a Community Safety and
Environment Policy and Accountability Committee on September 16, which was
broadcast on YouTube.

Therefore publishing said reports that I am requesting would not create a
substantial risk to the security of the bridge, as the bridge's weaknesses
are already in the public domain.
 
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000and we aim to send a response by 19 October 2020- this is 20 working
days from the date of receipt. 
 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000may restrict the release of some or all
of the information you have requested. We will carry out an assessment and
if any exemptionsapply to some or all of the information then we might not
provide that information to you. We will inform you if this is the case
and advise you of your rights to request an internal review.
 
We will also advise you if we cannot provide you with the information
requested for any other reason together with the reason(s) why and details
of how you may appeal (if appropriate).
 
 
If you are registered for self-service via the Council My Account portal,
you can track the progress of your request online:  [1]Track case progress
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
h&f InTouch team
 
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call 119

[3]Covid symptoms? Get tested now. Test and trace - nhs.uk/coronavirus or
call 119

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Gary Clothier, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 1840508
 
 
 
 
Dear Mr Sheppard,
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21 September 2020.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Gary Clothier
Investigations and Information Officer
 
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Dear Gary Clothier,

I would like the council to conduct an internal review and I would like to challenge council's response.

In the council's response it says: "The reports give exact locations and failure methods including weak points, therefore the below exemption would still apply." I would urge the council to redact this very specific information in order to mitigate the risks of any party feeling encouraged to attempt to carry out an attack.

Furthermore, there are several points in the council's response that are not very well explained and do not relate to the facts of the case.

For example: "Any attempt to release this information will surely lead to disproportionate burden or
an unjustified level of distress, disruption or irritation in handling information requests." It is not clear what this means or who would suffer such "distress disruption or irritation", and there is no explanation as to why this would result from releasing the information I have requested.

Secondly, the council's response says: "Surely, dealing with manifestly unreasonable requests can place a strain on available resources and get in the way of delivering mainstream services or answering other requests." I fail to see what is "manifestly unreasonable" about the public being able to study the structural survey reports relating to Hammersmith Bridge, especially as the ones I requested are now out of date, as further surveys have taken place since April 2019. I also fail to see how this would impact the delivery of any "mainstream services". The survey reports are in the council's possession and can therefore be disclosed.

Thirdly, the council says: "Disclosing some of this information, in a time of heightened security may encourage and assist those with criminal intent towards this bridge or the surrounding area in facilitating the ease and nature of such activities." As I said in my original request, the council has already publicised the ways in which the bridge is damaged. Secondly, as I said earlier in this message, any very specific details that could increase the risk of a criminal attack should be redacted.

I believe my answer to your third argument for withholding also tackles the fourth argument the council makes, that: "Disclosure under EIR is to the world at large; highly motivated and potentially resourced terrorist groups can sometimes go great length to piece together seemly harmless information to perpetrate havoc."

I look forward to the council's timely response.

Yours sincerely,

Owen Sheppard

iCaseworkInformation, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

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Dear iCaseworkInformation,

Could I please ask you to confirm that my request for an internal review relating to FOI 1840508, which I sent earlier today, has been received.

Yours sincerely,

Owen Sheppard

Dear Gary

Please could you confirm that my request for an internal review of the way you handled my FOI (ref 1840508) was received after I sent it on 29th September.

Kind regards,

Owen Sheppard