Oxfordshire county council £12.7 million bus funding

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Department for Transport should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

Dear Department for Transport,

Oxfordshire County Council recently recieved £12.7 million of funding from the Department of Transport to "for measures to get people out of their cars and back on to buses. Measures include "cheaper fares for under-19s, new rural services, bus priority improvements across the county and proposed traffic filters to reduce journey times and support the introduction of new zero emission electric buses."

I would like to know precisely how DOT funding has been allocated for these various strands of activity. I am also particularly keen to learn about OCC DOT funding for work on "traffic filters" - also known as bus gates. This scheme, in particular, is exceptionally politically contentious because it threatens to sever car, van and lorry access along several of Oxford's main arterial roads, seven days per week, 12 hours per day.

With that in mind, please provide me with:

The OCC's funding bid.

The DOT's evaluation report of the OCC funding bid.

Any budgetary breakdown of funding between OCCs various strands of planned / approved activity as part of this scheme.

Any KPI imposed on OCC as a condition of OCC receiving this funding.

Any discussions between the DOT and OCC personnel on the specific issue of the delivery of the traffic filters / bus gates. What was said/promised / by who, and what response was received?

Yours faithfully,

Richard Parnham

Department for Transport

Dear Sir,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which
has been allocated reference number P0021443.

A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team

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BSIP, Department for Transport

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Parnham,

 

Further to your information request dated 12 August 2022, please find
attached our response.

 

 

Best wishes,

 

 

[1][IMG] Kate Burman 
Policy Advisor, Bus Recovery and Reform

One Priory Square, Priory Street, Hastings, TN34 1EA

       
[2]Follow us on twitter @transportgovuk 

 

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The information in this email may be confidential or otherwise protected
by law. If you received it in error, please let us know by return e-mail
and then delete it immediately, without printing or passing it on to
anybody else.
Incoming and outgoing e-mail messages are routinely monitored for
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References

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2. https://twitter.com/transportgovuk

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 'Oxfordshire county council £12.7 million bus funding'. My request is being refused on the basis that the information relates to the formulation and development of government policy.

My appeal is based on the claim that refusal incorrectly applies the section 35(1)(a) test for refusal . Neither policy that relates to my request, both offering the grant (the DoT), nor the traffic filter funding applied for, are policies that are still the process of formation and development. The DOT grant is an actual policy that is being IMPLEMENTED by the awarding of grants (not formulated or developed), as is the scheme that Oxfordshire County council seeks to fund. The traffic filter scheme have been included in OCC's Oxford Transport Strategy since 2015. The policy has therefore already been formulated - a fact that can easily be verified, because it the is stated in a consultation document that is currently in the public domain. https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/traf... - Traffic filters brochure, page 23. The consultation currently in progress only focuses on the location of traffic filters, and exceptions to be given: there is no mechanism to oppose the scheme itself. That ship has sailed, in terms of whether Oxfordshire County Council wants to have this policy at all: it does. It IS the council's stated policy.

There are, however, two additional reasons why I argue that disclosure should be granted, rather than refused, in relation to this FOI appeal.

1) details of a directly-related scheme (Government electric bus funding, which requires the traffic filters to be approved by OCC in order to release funding for them) have already been released by the DOT and Oxfordshire County Council in two previous FOIs, without any attempts to claim the exception claimed above. The OCC FOI reference is 19689 EIR and the DoT reference is E0020971. This earlier DoT disclosure was not absolute - some elements were redacted. This, I suggest, sets a direct president in favour of disclosure in this related request now. I would prefer to receive a (reasonably) redacted set of documents, rather than a blanked refusal to disclose.

2) one of these FoI reveals that there was a specific condition imposed on the grant of the electric bus funding: that "the implementation of the traffic filters is not dependent on central government funding". Part of this current FoI therefore seeks to establish whether this electric bus funding "no central government funding" requirement is, in fact, being met - or not. This fact, I suggest, puts the public interest in favour of disclosure, rather than refusal, of my FOI request now.

Finally, I would like to note that I live directly between the two bus gate filters that this scheme seeks to fund. if implemented, these schemes will directly and seriously limit my ability to leave my own neighbourhood by car, in two key directions. This is relevant, because I believe I will have "standing" to appeal to the ICO, should you decide to refuse my request for disclosure on appeal. Please be in no doubt: a refusal WILL prompt an immediate appeal to the ICO to review any such refusal.

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

Yours faithfully,

Richard Parnham

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Parnham

 

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

 

I am writing to confirm that the Department will now undertake an internal
review of the recent decision letter.

 

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

 

Kind regards

 

Information Rights Team

 

[1][IMG] Information Management and Rights Team

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

 

 

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