John H Hutchinson

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
Regarding the infilling of a cave on Hilbre island,

1. Why was expanded polystyrene foam allowed?

2. What was the cost of the contract?

3. Was the cost of clean-up met by WMBC or the Contractor?

4. Which Department authorised and oversaw the contract?

5. Is the newspaper report
Piles of polystyrene scattered around Hilbre Island as council appointed workers fill in cave
https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/17848...

correct in saying that "containers of the toxic chemical Isocyanate have been left for at least two weeks in close proximity to the only tourist path on the island" and, if so, why was this allowed to occur?

6. Will all of the builder's waste materials be removed so as to return the Islands to their original pristine condition so as to protect vegetation and wildlife?

Yours faithfully,

John H Hutchinson

Dalton, Chelsea, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

 

Thank you for your recent freedom of information request, submitted under
the FOIA 2000. Please see response below:

 

 1. Why was expanded polystyrene foam allowed?

The cave at Hilbre Island was formed due to the cantilever rock face being
unstable. To remedy this in the past, a 2000mm thick wall was constructed
for its support. Over time this wall has become unstable, therefore
putting the cliff face in danger of collapse. To stop this, remedial works
were required in the form of the following:

 

1). Filling in the cave, therefore taking load of the existing structure.

 

2). Providing a non-shrink grout under the existing wall to stop further
settlement. This type of works have been previously carried out on the
wall and was therefore an ongoing concern.

 

3). Make good the damaged section of the wall with stonework to match
existing.

 

Filling the cave could have been carried out by concrete or structural
foam. But concrete was ruled out for the fact that getting concrete to the
island was not practical. Also on a safety point of view, a sprayed
concrete was most suitable.

 

2. What was the cost of the contract?

The contract is £65,000

 

3. Was the cost of clean-up met by WMBC or the Contractor?

The clean-up was carried out by the Contractor at his cost. The contractor
is also carrying out a walk around the area every morning to make sure
site is clean.

 

4. Which Department authorised and oversaw the contract?

Delivery Services Directorate – Construction, Maintenance & Facilities

 

5. Is the newspaper report Piles of polystyrene scattered around Hilbre
Island as council appointed workers fill in cave
[1]https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/17848...

correct in saying that "containers of the toxic chemical Isocyanate have
been left for at least two weeks in close proximity to the only tourist
path on the island" and, if so, why was this allowed to occur?

The spray foam was carried out by a specialist contractor who took all
materials off site at the end of each day. The empty containers was used
by the contractor for water storage when mixing the grout and mortar,
these may have been mistaken for toxic chemicals.

 

6. Will all of the builder's waste materials be removed so as to return
the Islands to their original pristine condition so as to protect
vegetation and wildlife?

Yes. The site will be returned to its original state. An inspection of the
area will be carried out once the works are finished and all materials
removed from site.

 

I trust this will be of assistance.

 

You have the right under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
to ask for an internal review if you are dissatisfied with the information
provided to you. Please direct any request for an internal review to
[2][Wirral Borough Council request email] and your request will be allocated for
review.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Chelsea Dalton

Information Management Officer

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 666 5201

[3][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [4][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/17848...
2. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
3. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
4. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

John H Hutchinson

Dear Dalton, Chelsea,

please accept my apologies if this request for clarification is duplicated but I cannot find the original!

Thank you but the response is incomplete.

The answer to Q1 is muddled. What does the sentence following A3 "Also on a safety point of view, a sprayed concrete was most suitable." mean? If sprayed concrete was most suitable, why was it not used?

Is Council aware of the friability of polystyrene foam? If so, why was it the preferred material? Did cost play a part in the decision? Has expanded polystyrene been scientifically proven to withstand water-wave forces? and. if so, to what degree?

Question 5 answer is unsatisfactory. We are advised not to use chemical containers for the storage of other types of chemical e.g. not to store pesticide in lemonade bottles, for the obvious risk of the result of a mistake.

Why was the contractor not instructed to not use its empty waste containers to store water? Why was the contractor not properly supervised? Why was the contractor unaware of the COSHH Regulations and why did Council not make it aware? Is Council certain that the containers were used for the storage of water or is it reliant upon the spoken word of the contractor?

Is the newspaper report, correct or incorrect, please?

Q6. Will the inspection be conducted independently or by Council?

Q6. Will the inspection be conducted independently or by Council?

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

John H Hutchinson

Dear Dalton, Chelsea,
Further to my request seeking clarification.

Was Council aware of the fire hazard risk of expanded polystyrene foam before placing the contract?
Emergency services called to fire in cave on Hilbre Island, West Kirby
https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/17858...

If Council was aware, why was it allowed to be used?

Having received the publicity that it did, why were fire precautions not adopted?

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

Thank you for your further correspondences, we have treated this as internal review as you have expressed dissatisfaction of the handling of your request with the responses received from the Information Management team

The Council will aim to respond to this within 20 working days from the receipt of your request.

If you then remain dissatisfied you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Yours sincerely,

Chelsea Dalton
Information Management Officer
Business Management - ICT
Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH
Tel: 0151 666 5201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [Wirral Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,
I said that I was seeking clarification, not that I was dissatisfied.

But, if you are intent on providing that clarification by Internal Review, then I am content.

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

Dalton, Chelsea, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

 

We write further to your recent request for information relating to
building works on Hilbre Island.

 

Please be advised that an internal investigation is currently underway.

 

Officers have advised that a conclusion date is set. We will aim to
disclose a full, substantive response to in relation to your request week
commencing 30^th September 2019.

 

We understand there is a high level of public interest in this matter and
senior officers endeavour to provide as much information as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Chelsea Dalton

Information Management Officer

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 666 5201

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [2][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
2. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

Dear Dalton, Chelsea,
Thank you for your response.

I am pleased to read that an internal investigation is underway.

Will it be externally reviewed, please?

There seems to be a word or words missing (indicated by xxxxx) in the sentence

We will aim to disclose a full, substantive response to xxxxx in relation to your request week
commencing 30^th September 2019.

Also, in the following sentence (indicated by xxxxx)

We understand there is a high level of public interest in this matter and
senior officers xxxxx endeavour to provide as much information as possible.

If there are no missing words then I shall be grateful if you will supply clarification.

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

Dalton, Chelsea, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

 

Please accept my apologies, upon looking at my sent email there seems to
be no deformation, therefore it may be a fault on the whatdotheyknow?
Website.

 

To reiterate, I will highlight below, in bold capitals, what words were
replaced with "xxxxx"

 

“We will aim to disclose a full, substantive response to YOU in relation
to your request week commencing 30^th September 2019”.

 

&

 

“We understand there is a high level of public interest in this matter and
senior officers WILL endeavour to provide as much information as
possible”.

 

I will put forward your question, in relation to an external review, to
the senior officer who is currently conducting the investigation & return
to you upon receiving a response.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chelsea Dalton

Information Management Officer

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 666 5201

[Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

show quoted sections

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

I can advise, as per Environmental Health's comments that whilst we are undertaking our own internal investigation, we are also fully co-operating with the External Regulatory Agencies who have contacted Wirral Council about the recent incident.

I hope you find this satisfactory.

We will be in touch with a response regarding the investigation in due course.

Best regards,

Chelsea Dalton
Information Management Officer
Business Management - ICT
Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH
Tel: 0151 666 5201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [Wirral Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

thank you!

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Who or what is "Environmental Health"?

What were its comments that caused you to act?

What are the "External Regulatory Agencies" and what did they say, please, that caused you to act?

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,
I shall be grateful to receive your response to your self-imposed Internal Review. Kindly let me have a meaningfully revised date since that that you gave me of the week commencing 30 September has passed.

Also, your response to my requests for clarification

Who or what is "Environmental Health"?

What were its comments that caused you to act?

What are the "External Regulatory Agencies" and what did they say, please, that caused you to act?

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson

 

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding matters surrounding
your request for information in relation to the fire at Hilbre Island.

 

In response to your specific requests for clarification, we can advise
that the external agencies we are working with are Natural England &
Marine Management Organisation.

 

We can confirm that NE and MMO have made no comment regarding the incident
at this stage, expressly none that caused Wirral Council to act.  Any
action following the incident has been initiated by this Council, save as
to action taken in response to advice received from the Fire Authority
immediately after the fire.

 

Environment Health is a Wirral Council Regulatory Service who enforce
national legislation and they have relevant expertise and resources that
were requested to support the response to the incident. Officers from
Environmental Health have provided advice and support in respect of the
recent incident and continue to be available should it be required.

 

At this point, no date has been established for the internal review to be
completed.  At Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee it was agreed
that the Cabinet Member be asked to allow a full options appraisal to be
undertaken for a range of actions to be considered, based on previous
reports and new inspections that are currently being conducted.

 

I hope this clarifies matters.  We will be in touch with a response
regarding the investigation in due course.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Wirral Council

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

 

Tel: 0151 691 8201

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

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1. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you!

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

when might I expect a response, please?

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson,

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded this to the officers in Environmental Health who are investigating the incident & are collating responses for the FOI's surrounding this particular topic.

I apologise for the delay you have withstood, but it is paramount for the investigation to be completed and satisfied before releasing responses to the public, as to ensure they are factually accurate.

Wirral Borough Council would like to thank you for your patience & understanding with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Chelsea Dalton
Information Management Officer
Business Management - ICT
Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH
Tel: 0151 666 5201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [Wirral Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon Mr Hutchinson,

What part of your FOI are you awaiting response from?

According to email trails, we have responded to all questions you have submitted regarding the fire at Hilbre Island.

I have attached these for you, for your records.

If you can clarify what further information you seek, we will try our best to provide any additional information to you.

Kind regards,

Chelsea Dalton
Information Management Officer
Business Management - ICT
Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH
Tel: 0151 666 5201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [Wirral Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

I am awaiting the report of the review of the fire.

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson

 

Further to your email of 19 October 2019, we can only advise that the
investigation is still ongoing and that no date has been set by which the
review must be concluded.   

 

Ongoing investigations are also considering what external support is
required to manage the cliff face and opening and this may take some
months to complete.  At Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee it was
agreed that the Cabinet Member be asked to allow a full options appraisal
to be undertaken for a range of actions to be considered, based on
previous reports and new inspections that are currently being conducted. 

 

On that basis, we are unable to provide any further information in
response to your enquiry at this time.

 

You may wish to resubmit your request your enquiry at a later date.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Wirral Council

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

 

Tel: 0151 691 8201

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,
thank you!

But, as I have no way of knowing when the report is published, I would prefer to leave this FoIA open until such time as it is published trusting that you will close the request with a copy of the report.

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hutchinson

Your comments are noted but unfortunately we are unable to leave this request open as it has been fully answered. As at the time of your request there is no report so we are unable to disclose any information to you.

I would suggest you make a fresh request in 3 months' time, by which time we should be able to give you a more detailed response.

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson
Principal Information Management Officer
Wirral Council
Business Management - ICT
Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 691 8201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may involve licensing and the application of a charge

show quoted sections

John H Hutchinson

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

the request has not been answered but you leave me no alternative.

I shall try again in two months time, 24 December 2019, as I consider this long enough for Council to conclude its investigations.

Yours sincerely,

John H Hutchinson