HS2 Euston Costs correspondence

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Transport,

In January 2012 the government's plans for the HS2 route involved the rebuilding of Euston station.

Simon Burns said in parliament on 14 March 2013 that DfT was working closely with HS2 on the costs of the Euston rebuild. HC Deb, 14 March 2013, c281W and was equivocal about costs.

HS2 announced on 19 April 2013 that its costs for the rebuild of Euston station had gone over budget and it was submitting revised plans.



This is a major blow for local communities and there is a strong public interest in understanding how HS2 arrived at this decision. Just as there was much interest locally in the cost over-runs at Kings Cross.

DfT is covered by FOI but HS2 is not. However all HS2 correspondence with DfT is caught by FOI.

I should be grateful for copies of all correspondence, meeting notes, spread sheets and other information exchanged between DfT and HS2 concerning plans for Euston station during the period 1 March 2013 and 22 April 2013.

Please note, should you be considering citing commercial confidentiality as a reason not to provide this information the Information Commissioner has repeatedly stressed that such concerns are not material in matters of this sort. And HS2 is a monopoly with no competitors so cannot suffer commercial disadvantage.

My preferred format to receive this information is electronic through this web service. If you have any queries that might make it easier to answer my request please do not hesitate to contact me. If you wish to respond in parts then please feel free to do so.

Yours faithfully,

william perrin

Ivan Pocock, Department for Transport

Dear Mr Perrin,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which has been allocated reference number P0010112. A response will be issued to you in due course.


Ivan Pocock
Department for Transport
Information Rights & Records Unit
D/01, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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Patrick Bateson, Department for Transport

Mr Perrin



Thank you for your request for information which we received on 30 April
2013. The Department does hold the information you are seeking.


The FOI Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly, in any case no
later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However, when a
qualified exemption applies to the information, the public interest test
needs to be considered. We are not required to comply with your request
until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances. We do, of course,
aim to make all decisions within 20 working days, including in cases where
we need to consider where the public interest lies in respect of a request
for exempt information. Your request, however, raises complex public
interest considerations which must be analysed before we can come to a
decision on releasing the information. 


The exemptions that apply to the information you have requested are:


Section 22: information intended for future publication

Section 35: formulation of government policy

Section 41: information provided in confidence

Section 43: commercial interests


In your case we need to extend our response time limit by 20 working days
in order to assess whether the public interest is in withholding the
information or disclosing it. Therefore, we plan to let you have a
response by 25 June 2013.  If there is a need for any further delay we
will keep you informed.   


If you have any queries about this email, please contact me.


If you are unhappy with the way the Department has handled your request or
with the decisions made in relation to your request you may complain
within two calendar months of the date of this letter by writing to the
Department’s Information Rights Unit at:


Zone D/01

Ashdown House

Sedlescombe Road North


East Sussex TN37 7GA

E-mail: [email address].uk   


Please see attached details of DfT’s complaints procedure and your right
to complain to the Information Commissioner.



Yours etc


Patrick Bateson

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road



[email address]


Your right to complain to [DfT/Agency] and the Information Commissioner


You have the right to complain within two calendar months of the date of
this letter about the way in which your request for information was
handled and/or about the decision not to disclose all or part of the
information requested. In addition a complaint can be made that DfT has
not complied with its FOI publication scheme.


Your complaint will be acknowledged and you will be advised of a target
date by which to expect a response. Initially your complaint will be
re-considered by the official who dealt with your request for information.
If, after careful consideration, that official decides that his/her
decision was correct, your complaint will automatically be referred to a
senior independent official who will conduct a further review. You will be
advised of the outcome of your complaint and if a decision is taken to
disclose information originally withheld this will be done as soon as


If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:


 Information Commissioner’s Office
 Wycliffe House
 Water Lane
 SK9 5AF



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Dear Patrick Bateson,

Thank you for your communication of 24 May. You cited a number of areas where you sought to apply a public interest test. Dealing with each of these in turn:

Section 22: information intended for future publication

I am not aware that DfT is in the habit of routine publication of emails and communications with organisations such as HS2. Could you please demonstrate where you publish such material? The application of this exemption is not plausible.

Section 35: formulation of government policy

As a former civil servant I am well aware of how government policy is formulated. HS2 should not be formulating government policy and nor should you be offering to them advice to Ministers that falls under the narrow area that qualifies under this exemption. The application of this exemption is not plausible.

Section 41: information provided in confidence

Could you please publish the confidentiality agreement that DfT has entered into with HS2 that was in force at the time to which my request refers. My understanding is that the information commissioner views such agreements in a dim light as they can subvert the principle of FOI.

Section 43: commercial interests

See my comments in my original request about commercial interests. HS2 is a monopoly and in procurement an monopsonist (a single buyer). Where no competitive forces are acting, transparency around costs can only increase economic efficiency. The information commissioner has not overall upheld attempts to apply commercial confidentiality to to incredibly detailed publication of local and national government spending with companies and i doubt very much whether he would do so here.

The public interest

The building of large mainline railway stations in Britain in the last ten years has been expensive. St Pancras cost £750million, King Cross c£450m. Kings Cross in particular was notoriously over budget. These are huge sums of public money at a time of austerity. It is of great public interest to understand how DfT and HS2 managed to agree between them an elaborate expensive station (the 2011/12 spec) and then have that estimate fall apart in Spring 2013.

Correspondence for the period requested covers the time between the Minister elliptically defending the earlier spec. to Parliament and that spec. collapsing into a different project to great local dismay and confusion. If local people, the public and parliament can see this correspondence then the public interest will be well served.

My foi requests concerning Kings Cross station, which DfT granted to its credit revealed for the first time the extent of the overspend there. I also corresponded with the Permanent Secretary about issues raised in my earlier FOIs, in particular some panglossian briefing of Ministers.

I should be deeply dismayed if this current request is not met in full.

Yours sincerely,

william perrin

Patrick Bateson, Department for Transport

I am currently on holiday, and will be in work from 3 June

Should your request be urgent please contact Becky Wood.

Please note that your message has not been forwarded.

Many thanks


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Patrick Bateson, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Mr Perrin


Please find the attached letter regarding your FOI request.





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Sean Delaney, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Sir –


Please find attached response to your FOI request regarding HS2 plans for
Euston Station




Sean Delaney

HS2 Sponsor Team

020 7944 3530

07748 966 146


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Edward Betts left an annotation ()

This request was linked to as the answer to a written question in the House of Commons.

See http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=...