Manston Airport - Operation Stack Costs

Jonathan Allison made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

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 successful.

Dear Department for Transport,

Please accept this email as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please disclose the total amount that has been paid, to date, to the owners of Manston Airport for its potential use as an emergency lorry park during the enactment of Operation Stack.

In a previous FOI request (P0012648, final response 03 September 2015), whilst your Department agreed it was in the public interest to release details of the costs, you claimed an exemption under s43 of the Act (prejudice of commercial interests), stating:

"The arguments against releasing the information is that the information is a matter of commercial confidentiality whilst the Department and other parties are involved in obtaining a longer term site to be used as part of Operation Stack and the release of the information at this point in time would be prejudicial to the Department for Transport in obtaining a long-term solution that provides value for money as its release would put us at a commercial disadvantage in negotiations. "

Subsequent to the announcement last Month of the decision to shelve plans for a lorry park off the M20 at Stanford, and therefore for the Department not to go ahead with obtaining a long term site to be used as part of Operation Stack, such an exemption is no longer valid, and therefore you are required to release the information.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Allison

Department for Transport

Dear Mr Allison,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which
has been allocated reference number P0015561.

A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team
Digital Service
Zone D/04
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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Jon Bennett, Department for Transport

2 Attachments

Please find attached the Department’s response to your request for
information.

 

Regards

 

 

 

[1][IMG]          Jon Bennett 
Policy Advisor, Operation Stack 

3/31, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR  
[2]Follow us on twitter @transportgovuk 

 

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Dear Department for Transport,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Transport's handling of my FOI request 'Manston Airport - Operation Stack Costs'.

I do not agree with your assessment of the qualification of the public interest test, as detailed in Annex A of your response, and I suggest that the exemption has been applied incorrectly.

I suggest the following factor needs to be considered in favour of disclosing information:
That FOIA2000 presupposes that disclosure of information generally is to be regarded as being in the public interest.

It is already in the public domain that the Department has already paid £3.539m to Stone Hill Park Limited.

It is in the public domain that the Department plans to spend around £250m on a permanent lorry park.

It is already in the public domain that the Department has spent at least £13m on the (at this point in time) failed attempt to build a lorry park at Stanford (BBC South East Today, 19/12/17).

Therefore, it is not possible for the Department to hide behind a qualified exemption in order to avoid disclosing an amount spent which does not even directly relate to the spends on a permanent lorry park.

I suggest that as there was no formal tender process for the allocation of Manston Airport as a temporary lorry park for Operation Stack, that there subsequently can be no associated commercial interests. I suggest that you have mistaken commercial interests for financial interests.

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

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Allison

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Mr Allison,

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review into the handling of your recent request for the following information:-

''Please disclose the total amount that has been paid, to date, to the owners of Manston Airport for its potential use as an emergency lorry park during the enactment of Operation Stack.

In a previous FOI request (P0012648, final response 03 September 2015), whilst your Department agreed it was in the public interest to release details of the costs, you claimed an exemption under s43 of the Act (prejudice of commercial interests), stating:

"The arguments against releasing the information is that the information is a matter of commercial confidentiality whilst the Department and other parties are involved in obtaining a longer term site to be used as part of Operation Stack and the release of the information at this point in time would be prejudicial to the Department for Transport in obtaining a long-term solution that provides value for money as its release would put us at a commercial disadvantage in negotiations. "

Subsequent to the announcement last Month of the decision to shelve plans for a lorry park off the M20 at Stanford, and therefore for the Department not to go ahead with obtaining a long term site to be used as part of Operation Stack, such an exemption is no longer valid, and therefore you are required to release the information.''

I am writing to confirm that the Department will now undertake an internal review of our decision letter dated 20 December.

We aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

If you have any queries about this email, please feel free to contact me for further help. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

J Hall
FOI Adviser, Group Assurance and Digital Directorate

Department for Transport
1/11, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road,
London, SW1P 4DR

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Jonathan Allison left an annotation ()

PRESS NOTICE:

If reporting on this FOI request, you must provide a link and credit to the WhatDoTheyKnow website.

Dear Department for Transport,

Your response is delayed. By law, I should have received a response to my request for an internal review by yesterday, 19 January 2018.

Please make every effort to respond as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Allison

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Allison,

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review.

Please note, due to the three bank holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, the internal review response is due today.

Regards,

J Hall | FOI Adviser, Group Assurance and Digital Directorate, Department for Transport

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