London Underground Station Announcements

The request was refused by Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

I am requesting the files that includes all audio announcements used on London Underground stations and platforms.

Kind Regards and I look forward to your response,

Yours faithfully,

Bradley Kempster

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment



Dear Mr Kempster


TfL Ref: 2426-2122


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 24
January 2022 asking for information about our London Underground station


Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. 


I can confirm that we hold the information you require, however with
regards to the London Underground station announcements, we are not
obliged to supply these audio files as the information is subject to a
statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section


In this instance section 43(2) has been applied as disclosure of the
information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial
interests of TfL and/or the company used to provide the recordings. The
recordings in question were provided to London Underground under signed
contracts which contained explicit conditions concerning disclosure and


These contracts specify that the recordings are solely to be used for the
purpose for which they were created and for broadcast on the London
Underground network only. If TfL were to disclose these recordings in
response to an FOI request, it would constitute an actionable breach of
contract and would be likely to result in a valid legal claim against
London Underground or the license to use the recordings being withdrawn,
which would impose additional, unnecessary, costs. TfL wishes to protect
its commercial interests and ability to participate in future commercial
activity. The disclosure of this information would be to the detriment of
present and future business activities for both parties.


The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public
interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. TfL
recognises the need for openness and transparency within public
authorities and the degree of public interest concerning London transport
announcements in light of the recent disclosure of iBus announcements.
However, in this instance this is outweighed by the damage that would be
done to TfL’s ability to use these recordings and any future contractual
negotiations that may take place regarding the London Underground


Please be advised that we are able to provide you with access to the on
train announcements for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Please
contact us again at [1][TfL request email] with a personal email address for
yourself (which is required to create the necessary permissions to access
the folder with the announcements in it), and we will process your


Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to


Yours sincerely




Sara Thomas

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London



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Dear Transport for London,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'London Underground Station Announcements'.

There was a request made by another person asking for the same information as I am asking for to which it was granted please find link below

I feel that my request is acceptable as this is for home private use.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Bradley Kempster

FOI, Transport for London

TfL Ref: IRV-066-2122

Thank you for your email which was received by Transport for London (TfL) on 27 January 2022.

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

A review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following URL:

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 24 February 2022. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.
Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London

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FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Kempster


I am contacting you regarding your email concerning the response provided
to FOI-2426-2122. Following your email of 27 January 2022 a review has
been carried out by an Independent Review Panel (‘the Panel’) consisting
of individuals who were not involved in the handling of your request.  You
have disputed the application of s43(2) to refuse your request, which was
applied on the basis that disclosure would be likely to prejudice the
commercial interest of TfL and/or a third party.


Your original FOI request of the 24 January 2022 specifically asked for
the following – “I am requesting the files that includes all audio
announcements used on London Underground stations and platforms” and the
FOI Case Management Team interpreted your request to include all London
Underground ‘on train’ announcements and all London Underground station / 
platform announcements. 


Whilst we do provide access to London underground ‘on train’ announcements
regularly via FOI requests, announcements used for stations and platforms
are considered exempt, please accept our apologies that the response to
your request did not make this clear.


To provide a little context regarding s43(2) of the FOI Act, it allows a
public authority to exempt information whose disclosure would, or would be
likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (this can
include an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other
legal entity). There are many circumstances in which a public authority
might hold information with the potential to prejudice commercial
interests. This could include procurement activities in relation to the
purchase of goods or services, regulatory activities or an authorities own
commercial interests in relation to activities which generate income.


The Prejudice Test.


In order to apply section 43(2), a public authority must satisfy itself
that disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice
or harm the commercial interests of any person and in this instance the
public authority holding it. This is known as the prejudice test. The term
“would…prejudice” means that prejudice is more probable than not to occur
(i.e. a more than a 50% chance of the disclosure causing the prejudice,
even though it is not absolutely certain that it would do so).


The term “would be likely to prejudice” is a lower threshold which means
that there must be more than a hypothetical or remote possibility of
prejudice occurring. There must be a real and significant risk of
prejudice, even though the probability of prejudice occurring is less than
50% and a public authority must decide the likelihood of prejudice arising
on the facts of each case.


The Public Interest Test


Section 43 is a qualified exemption which means that a public authority
has to consider the public interest if the exemption is engaged because of
prejudice to commercial interests and has to decide whether the balance of
the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that of
disclosing the information. Although there is a strong public interest in
openness, this does not necessarily override all other arguments.


We are unable to accurately ascertain whether the audio recordings used on
London Underground stations and platforms are produced by Ketech of if
they were produced under licence to Global Services or any other company,
agency or individual. Given that the voice artist has since deceased it
has created a unique situation in regards to confirming the licence
conditions under which these announcements were provided for use by TfL.
That said these announcements would have been produced under some form of
legal licencing agreement allowing for the broadcast on London Underground
and it is worth noting that the agreement under which the announcements
would have been made pre-dated the existence of Transport for London as a
public authority.


Given that we are unable to definitively confirm the licencing conditions
under which these announcements fall, in this instance s43(2) was applied
to your request based on the balance of probabilities that disclosure
would be likely to lead to some form of legal action being bought against
TfL. Whilst the panel make no suggestion that you would use this
information for anything other than you own personal interest, disclosure
of this information to you has to be regarded as a disclosure to ‘the
public at large’ which elevates the risk of legal action being bought
against TfL if this information were to be widely used by members of the
public for their own financial gain. As you may know, the majority of the
London Underground audio announcements do have prohibitions against
disclosure and so it must be considered there is a reasonable likelihood
that a similar prohibition would be in place in relation to these


If legal action were to be bought against TfL for the public disclosure
and use of these announcements, the financial costs of legal resources
required to deal with legal cases can be significant. In addition to these
legal costs there is also the imposed cost of any potential compensation
that would need to be paid to a third party service provider if a court
case was ruled in their favour.


As explained above, where qualified exemptions are cited, there is an
obligation on the public authority to carry out a consideration of the
public interest test. In this instance the Panel gave consideration to
whether the information being requested was of sufficient enough value to
the wider public to mitigate the costs to the public purse that any
potential legal action would incur. However the Panel agreed that these
announcements would only be of value to a minimal amount of transport
enthusiasts and therefore the consideration for disclosure was outweigh by
the impact on public funds that would be required to provide legal
resources if legal action was bought against TfL.


Therefore in this instance your complaint has not been upheld.


As mentioned we can provide access to ‘on train’ announcements. In order
to provide you with access to the requested audio recordings we require a
direct email address in order to create the necessary permissions. Could
you please email us directly at [1][TfL request email] with your email address,
citing your reference number IRV-066-2122, and we can then grant access.


The Panel appreciate that the above response will come as a disappointment
to you, however we hope the above response has provided a better clarity
in regards to the considerations given to the information requested in
FOI-2426-1222. If you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to
date please do not hesitate to contact me or alternately you can refer the
matter to the independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom
of Information Act, at the following address:


Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane


Cheshire SK9 5AF


A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website


Yours sincerely


Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

FOI Case Management Team

Transport for London

[3][TfL request email]



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