Information relating to Thornthwaite / Whinlatter gondola proposal

The request was partially successful.

Dear Forestry Commission,

Please supply the following information:

1.
Regarding the gondola between Thornthwaite and Whinlatter, and further extensions into the forest from the visitor centre, has the Forestry Commission consulted with or commissioned reports from:
(a) businesses already running equivalent services eg Matlock or Annock Moor
(b) cable car/gondola constructors eg Dopplemayer

Please supply details of any correspondence and reports with the organisations in (a) and (b)

2.
Has the Forestry Commission completed an assessment of the impact on the villages of Thornthwaite and Braithwaite of any of the ideas floated to expand the activities at the Whinlatter Forest Centre?

And if so supply those reports and statistics

3.
Visitor numbers to the existing osprey viewing site on Dodd for each of the last 5 years and projected visitor numbers to the new site in Whinlatter

4.
Apart from walking from the parking area at the Whinlatter centre, what transport solutions are being considered to move visitors to and from the new osprey viewing site in Whinlatter?

Projections of visitors numbers for the next 10 years that will walk to the viewing site

5.
Visitor numbers to Whinlatter for each of the last 5 years

6.
Numbers of cars paying to park across all the Whinlatter car parks for each the last 5 years, and the same for coaches

7.
Projected visitor numbers to Whinlatter for each of the next 10 years

8.
Projected numbers of cars expected to park at Whinlatter for each of the next 10 years and the same for coaches and other transport options

9.
Has the Forestry Commission considered alternative access routes to Whinlatter Forest Centre?

If so, provide details of these options and reasons for their rejection

Yours faithfully,

Kim Purvis

Lee, James,

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Purvis,

 

Please find attached.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Jim Lee MA MRICS

Area Land Agent

North England Forest District

 

+ Forestry Commission | Eals Burn | Bellingham | Hexham | NE48 2HP

( 0300 067 4233 | ( 07969 178849 | ( VOIP 4947

 

 

 

 

+++++ The Forestry Commission's computer systems may be monitored and
communications carried out on them recorded, to secure the effective
operation of the system and for other lawful purposes. +++++

Lee, James,

5 Attachments

Dear Ms Purvis,

 

Please see the attached letter and associated documents.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Jim Lee MA MRICS

Area Land Agent

North England Forest District

 

+ Forestry Commission | Eals Burn | Bellingham | Hexham | NE48 2HP

( 0300 067 4233 | ( 07969 178849 | ( VOIP 4947

 

 

+++++ The Forestry Commission's computer systems may be monitored and
communications carried out on them recorded, to secure the effective
operation of the system and for other lawful purposes. +++++

Dear Forestry Commission,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Forestry Commission's handling of my FOI request 'Information relating to Thornthwaite / Whinlatter gondola proposal'.

In addition, it is not clear which requests you are declining to answer. Would you please add an appropriate response to each numbered item.

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

Yours faithfully,

Kim Purvis

Barker, Richard, Forestry Commission

Dear Ms Purvis

Thank you for your request for review of the decision to engage the exemptions to disclose information held by the Forestry Commission. It has been passed to me for reply.

Although the regulations give a period of 40 working days to respond to a request for internal review we aim to respond within 20 working days as recommended by the Information Commissioner.

I will write to you again with the outcome once I have completed the review.

Yours sincerely

Richard Barker
Head of Parliamentary Business and Information Rights.
Director England’s Office, Forestry Commission England

show quoted sections

Commissioners, Forestry Commission

Dear Ms Purvis
 
Further to my e-mail of 18 December I am now able to provide you with a
full response to your request for review of how your original request has
been handled.
 
Firstly, I have considered whether or not it was correct to assesses the
request as being one for environmental information and therefore falling
within scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).   My
conclusion is that  this was the right decision, all aspects of your
request covers matter that would in some way have an affect on elements of
the environment listed in the regulations which means that it was correct
for your request to be considered under EIR.
 
You should also note that the regulations require the disclosure of
recorded information held at the time a request is received, in this case
the reference date is 20 November 2018, there is no requirement to
disclose details of unrecorded activities or discussions or to create
information in order to answer questions.  Furthermore information,
especially where it is not part of a structured records is provided ‘as
is’ we unable to provide verification of provenance of the information or
whether or not it is correct or complete.  In most cases the information
we hold is recorded and retained for management needs,  not as part of our
statutory duties or in anticipation of any third party interest.
 
I order to provide some additional clarity I will provide a response to
each element of your original request, which I have reproduced below:
 
 
1.
Regarding the gondola between Thornthwaite and Whinlatter, and further
extensions into the forest from the visitor centre, has the Forestry
Commission consulted with or commissioned reports from:
(a) businesses already running equivalent services eg Matlock or Annock
Moor
(b) cable car/gondola constructors eg Dopplemayer
 
Please supply details of any correspondence and reports with the
organisations in (a) and (b)
 
We hold one item piece of information which falls within this element of
your request.  However, this comes within scope of the confidentiality
agreement as explained in the original response.  Furthermore, as this was
provided by a third party, then there is the potential for the exemption
under regulation 12(5)(f) to apply but this would only be followed through
if there was not the confidentiality agreement in place.
 
2.
Has the Forestry Commission completed an assessment of the impact on the
villages of Thornthwaite and Braithwaite of any of the ideas floated to
expand the activities at the Whinlatter Forest Centre?
 
And if so supply those reports and statistics
 
The Forestry Commission does not hold any recorded information, which
means that regulation 12(4)(a) applies ‘information not held’.
 
3.
Visitor numbers to the existing osprey viewing site on Dodd for each of
the last 5 years and projected visitor numbers to the new site in
Whinlatter
 
Information within scope of this element of your request was disclosed 
‘as held’ .
 
4.
Apart from walking from the parking area at the Whinlatter centre, what
transport solutions are being considered to move visitors to and from the
new osprey viewing site in Whinlatter?
 
The Forestry Commission does not hold any recorded information, which
means that regulation 12(4)(a) applies ‘information not held’.
 
 
Projections of visitors numbers for the next 10 years that will walk to
the viewing site
 
Information we consider came within scope of this element of your request
(Dodd to Whinlatter Ospreys) was disclosed  ‘as held’ .
 
 
5.
Visitor numbers to Whinlatter for each of the last 5 years
 
Information within scope of this element of your request (Visitor Numbers
x2) was disclosed  ‘as held’ .
 
 
6.
Numbers of cars paying to park across all the Whinlatter car parks for
each the last 5 years, and the same for coaches
 
Information within scope of this element of your request, which was
limited to vehicle numbers which were recorded by our current car parking
system introduced in 2016,  was disclosed  ‘as held’ .
 
7.
Projected visitor numbers to Whinlatter for each of the next 10 years
 
The Forestry Commission does not hold any recorded information, which
means that regulation 12(4)(a) applies ‘information not held’.
 
8.
Projected numbers of cars expected to park at Whinlatter for each of the
next 10 years and the same for coaches and other transport options
 
The Forestry Commission does not hold any recorded information, which
means that regulation 12(4)(a) applies ‘information not held’.
 
9.
Has the Forestry Commission considered alternative access routes to
Whinlatter Forest Centre?
 
 
If so, provide details of these options and reasons for their rejection
 
The Gondola proposal is the only information held and this is subject to
the confidentiality agreement.
 
The applications of exemptions under the Environmental Information
Regulations are subject to the public interest test (Regulation 12(1)(b))
and I note that an explicit reference to this was not made in the original
response.  However, the Information Commissioner accepts that when
information is not held it is not possible to carry out the test.   This
means that the test is only required  in respect to the exemptions to
disclose as a result of the confidentiality agreement.  I have concluded
that, on balance, the exemption can be sustained because there could be
considerable detrimental impact on the Forestry Commission from breaching
the confidentiality agreement.
 
This concludes the Forestry Commissions internal review process and if you
remain dissatisfied with the outcome you can make a complaint to the 
Information Commissioner; details of how to contact the Information
Commissioner was provided in the original response.
 
Yours sincerely 
 
Richard Barker
Head of Information Rights and Data Protection Officer.
Director England’s Office, Forestry Commission England
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
+++++ The Forestry Commission's computer systems may be monitored and
communications carried out on them recorded, to secure the effective
operation of the system and for other lawful purposes. +++++

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