Locations of fire hydrants

Andy Mabbett made this Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Fire Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear West Midlands Fire Service,

Please can you supply me with a list of the locations of all the Fire Hydrants within your administrative area.

Please could you also include canal access hatches, if you still maintain these. If so, please indicate which is which,or provide two separate files.

I would like to know the exact location (longitude & latitude) if known, or if that is not held I would like the nearest street address.

I would like this data, please, in a format which I c an edit, such as a CSV file, or one which I can enter into a mapping service, such as a GPX/ KML file.

My preference would be for you to publish this data on your website and to provide the relevant URL(s); and to keep it updated, with an indication of when and what changes are made. Otherwise, please send the file(s) by return.

Kind regards,

Martina Doolan, West Midlands Fire Service

Currently I am not in the office until Monday 5th january 2015 so please
direct any queries to
[email address]<mailto:[email address]>

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Sent request to West Midlands Fire Service again, using a new contact address.

Andy Mabbett left an annotation ()

WMFS have provided an alternative email address data.management@wmfs.net - see https://twitter.com/WestMidsFire/status/...

Data Management, West Midlands Fire Service

Ref: FOI/15016

 

Dear Mr Mabbett

 

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

 

I can confirm that we have received your request concerning a list of the
locations of all the Fire Hydrants within your administrative area, also
include canal access hatches, if you still maintain these. If so, please
indicate which is which,or provide two separate files.  Your request was
received on 16th February 2015 and I am dealing with it under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000.  

In certain circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I
will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be
required to pay this before we will proceed to deal with the request.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me on 0121 380
6561. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 
Thank you
 
Kind Regards
 
 
Asif Malik
Data Management
Email: [1][email address]
Tel: 0121 380 6561
West Midlands Fire Service.
 
 

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Asif Malik, West Midlands Fire Service

Ref: FOI/15016
 
Dear Mr Mabbett
 
RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST  
 
I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now
completed its search for the information you requested on 16th February
2015.
 
Please find below a summary of our findings.
 
Request.
 
Please can you supply me with a list of the locations of all the Fire
Hydrants within your administrative area.
Please could you also include canal access hatches, if you still maintain
these. If so, please indicate which is which,or provide two separate
files.
I would like to know the exact location (longitude & latitude) if known,
or if that is not held I would like the nearest street address.
I would like this data, please, in a  format which I can edit, such as a
CSV file, or one which I can enter into a mapping service, such as a GPX/
KML file.
 
Reply.
 
Unfortunately it is not possible to fulfil your request and it has been
refused under Section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Section
24 provides that information is exempt  from disclosure under Section
1(1)b if it is required for the purposes of safeguarding national
security.
National security includes more than the security of the UK, its military
defence and its systems of government, it also involves co-operation with
other states in combating international terrorism and guarding against
actions targeted at other states which may impact on the UK and its
people.
Safeguarding national security also includes protecting potential targets
even if there is no evidence that an attack is imminent and the water
network could be perceived to be a potential target.
 
Reason why the Section 24 exemption applies.
 
The water network is part of the critical national infrastructure and we
are only provided access to the hydrant information to fulfil our
statutory role of fire-fighting. In addition the information is received
as part of an agreement with water utility companies and we are not
permitted to release the information.
 
Public Interest Test Reasons.
 
West Midlands Fire Service has concluded that the public interest in
maintaining this exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
This decision is based upon the following reasons:
 
In assessing the balance of the public interest test, we are particularly
mindful that the Act works on an ‘applicant blind’ basis and that by
providing information to one person, we set a precedent for making it
available to anyone else who asks for it.  
 
There is a strong public interest in the authority doing all it can to
protect the critical national infrastructure and national security.  This
is one of the primary reasons why we hold the requested information and
disclosing it would undermine this purpose, which would not be in the
public interest.  Although there has to be a real possibility that the
disclosure would undermine national security, the impact does not need to
be direct or immediate.
 
While there may be some public interest in providing details for
commercial purposes, the benefit of this does not outweigh the potential
consequences of endangering the health and welfare of people. 
 
If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision
please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire
Service,  99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW.
 
 
Thank you
 
Kind Regards
 
Asif Malik
Data Management
Email: [1][email address]
Tel: 0121 380 6561
West Midlands Fire Service.
 
 

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Dear West Midlands Fire Service,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Midlands Fire Service's handling of my FOI request 'Locations of fire hydrants'.

I believe your "national security" excuse to be implausible, noting that other fire services have recently provided such information, and that fire hydrants on the street are clearly and prominently identified.

It is also my understanding that FoI legislation provides no exemptions for agreements you have with suppliers or other third parties.

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

Yours faithfully,

Andy Mabbett

Dear West Midlands Fire Service,

I requested an internal review of your refusal to answer this request in March; I have heard nothing since; your replay is considerably overdue.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Mabbett

Martina Doolan, West Midlands Fire Service

Currently I am not back in the office until Tuesday 2nd June 2015 so
please direct any queries to
[email address]<mailto:[email address]>

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Martina Doolan, West Midlands Fire Service

Dear Mr Mabbett,
 
Please accept my apologies that your internal review is late.
 
Your original request was as follows;
 
Please can you supply me with a list of the locations of all the Fire
Hydrants within your administrative area.
Please could you also include canal access hatches, if you still maintain
these. If so, please indicate which is which,or provide two separate
files.
I would like to know the exact location (longitude & latitude) if known,
or if that is not held I would like the nearest street address.
I would like this data, please, in a  format which I can edit, such as a
CSV file, or one which I can enter into a mapping service, such as a GPX/
KML file.
 
West Midlands Fire Service response was;
 
Unfortunately it is not possible to fulfil your request and it has been
refused under Section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Section
24 provides that information is exempt  from disclosure under Section
1(1)b if it is required for the purposes of safeguarding national
security.
National security includes more than the security of the UK, its military
defence and its systems of government, it also involves co-operation with
other states in combating international terrorism and guarding against
actions targeted at other states which may impact on the UK and its
people.
Safeguarding national security also includes protecting potential targets
even if there is no evidence that an attack is imminent and the water
network could be perceived to be a potential target.
 
The reasons why Section 24 exemption applies were then cited as follows;
 
The water network is part of the critical national infrastructure and we
are only provided access to the hydrant information to fulfil our
statutory role of fire-fighting. In addition the information is received
as part of an agreement with water utility companies and we are not
permitted to release the information.
 
Public Interest Test Reasons.
 
West Midlands Fire Service has concluded that the public interest in
maintaining this exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
This decision is based upon the following reasons:
 
In assessing the balance of the public interest test, we are particularly
mindful that the Act works on an ‘applicant blind’ basis and that by
providing information to one person, we set a precedent for making it
available to anyone else who asks for it. 
 
There is a strong public interest in the authority doing all it can to
protect the critical national infrastructure and national security.  This
is one of the primary reasons why we hold the requested information and
disclosing it would undermine this purpose, which would not be in the
public interest.  Although there has to be a real possibility that the
disclosure would undermine national security, the impact does not need to
be direct or immediate.
 
While there may be some public interest in providing details for
commercial purposes, the benefit of this does not outweigh the potential
consequences of endangering the health and welfare of people.
 
Internal Review
 
In my opinion the above exemptions is relevant as the current threat level
from terrorism in the United Kingdom is deemed to be SEVERE as defined on
the MI5 Security Service website. The definition of SEVERE is defined as a
terrorist attack  being highly likely.
In the UK, the Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism as:
"The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an
international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a
section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political,
religious, racial or ideological cause; and it involves or causes:

* serious violence against a person;
* serious damage to a property;
* a threat to a person's life;
* a serious risk to the health and safety of the public; or
* serious interference with or disruption to an electronic system."

* Given the above definitions, publishing information about water
networks and other parts of the critical national infrastructure could
expose vulnerabilities in the network and pose a serious risk to
public health either through non availability of water resource or
contamination of supplies. There does not have to be any evidence that
this is being planned but it is a possibility given the current threat
level in the United Kingdom.
* In addition, Section 31(2) I should also be considered as fire and
rescue services have a statutory responsibility to secure water
supplies for fire fighting purposes under Section 38 of the Fire
Services Act 2004. Section 31(2) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 is an exemption related to health and safety and the location of
adequate water supplies is crucial to operational fire fighters to
undertake their role and not only protect the m selves but also
members of the public too. Bulk disclosure of information about water
supplies could again expose vulnerabilities in the network and lead to
non availability of water for fire-fighting purposes and lead to a
failure to undertake statutory duties.

If you disagree with the outcomes of this internal review then you can
complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
 
His contact details are as follows;
 
[1]www.ico.org.uk
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
 
Kind regards,
 
Martina Doolan
Data Manager
West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service
0121 380 6535
07973 810722
 
 
 

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Terence Eden left an annotation ()

As mentioned in Andy's reply, other Fire & Rescue services have published this information - see my request at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Martina Doolan, West Midlands Fire Service

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mabbett,

 

As per ICO decision notice number Reference: FS50585724 dated 16^th
November 2015, please find attached the most recent and complete
information about canal access hatches which we more commonly call bridge
doors. As per the decision notice, the ICO upheld our application of an
exemption under Section 24 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in
relation to information about fire hydrants but we are required to provide
the information about canal access hatche4s/bridge doors.

 

All available information is attached so I consider that we have complied
with the decision notice and your request is now complete.

 

Thank you for your interest in west Midlands Fire Service.

 

Kind regards,

 

Martina Doolan

Data Manager

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service

0121 380 6535

 

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Andy Mabbett left an annotation ()

Remarkably, my appeal to the first-tier tribunal for simple data requested here was refused:

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

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