Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Sir/Madam

Could you please provide me with copies of all emails (inc attachments), letters, reports and other documentation etc sent to/from/within the DfT since 11th February 2019 relating to Queensbury Tunnel.

To help reduce the workload involved in dealing with this request, where relevant material is identified which the Department reasonably believes might fall under exemptions 35 (formulation of Government policy), 42 (legal professional privilege) or 43 (commercial interests) of the FoI Act, I am content for that material to be redacted without a public interest test being undertaken as long as the redacted material is still included within the final response.

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike

Department for Transport

Dear Mr Bickerdike,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which
has been allocated reference number P0017677.

A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

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

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Khasru Ali, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike,

 

Please see attached reply.

 

Khasru Ali  | Group Property, Corporate Finance, Department for Transport
Post to: Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 4DR  

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Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to ask for an Internal Review into the Department for Transport’s response to my Freedom of Information request, reference F0017677, submitted on 13th August.

In your reply of 10th September, you state that the DfT “considers the request is vexatious” and that my “past behaviour in submitting requests and correspondence on the matter of the Queensbury Tunnel suggests that a detailed response would only serve to encourage follow up requests.”

As you will be aware, the issues around Queensbury Tunnel are live, fluid and of considerable public interest, with almost 3,800 objections to the planning application for its proposed abandonment and more than 11,800 signatories to an ePetition seeking its reopening as a cycle route.

If planning permission is granted, it is likely that around £6 million of taxpayers’ money will be spent on abandonment, around £2 million of which has arisen directly as the result of a failure to pay the £50 annual rent on a pumping station. Abandonment - the stated grounds for which are not supported by any meaningful technical evidence - puts permanently beyond use an asset which has the potential to deliver significant social, economic and tourism benefits to the area around Bradford/Halifax/Keighley. It should therefore be recognised that abandonment would have real long-term impacts on future sustainable transport provision locally; it also runs contrary to both national and local planning policies.

It is therefore entirely reasonable that ongoing discussions and decision-making around Queensbury Tunnel are open to public scrutiny and I regard my requests under the Freedom of Information Act to be justified in respect of its overarching intent, i.e. “making public bodies more transparent and accountable.”

That said, I remain conscious of the potential impacts my requests for correspondence [could] have on workload within the Department; as a result, I only make them once every six months, each one covering a unique time period.

It should also be recognised that, in my email to Sam Buckmaster of 3rd July, I made clear that “I would be very happy to consider any proposal from the Department by which a means is established of obtaining the relevant information in a manner that minimises “disruption, irritation or distress”.” I did not receive any response to this suggestion.

Furthermore, in submitting my latest request, I made an effort to reduce the resulting workload by stating that “where relevant material is identified which the Department reasonably believes might fall under exemptions 35 (formulation of Government policy), 42 (legal professional privilege) or 43 (commercial interests) of the FoI Act, I am content for that material to be redacted without a public interest test being undertaken…”

As suggested, I have read the ICO guidance on dealing with vexatious requests. I am not clear how any objective assessment could conclude that my requests are “manifestly unjustified, inappropriate or improper use of a formal procedure” (see Para 18) or that they have “no reasonable foundation” (see Para 20).

I look forward to hearing the outcome of the Internal Review.

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

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bickerdike

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Graeme,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review. We aim to respond to you on or before the 9 October 2019.

Regards,
FOI Advice Team
Department for Transport

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FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Graeme,

I am writing regarding your request for an Internal Review of your FOI.

Wherever possible, we endeavour to complete Internal Reviews within 20 working days. However due to demand on Senior Civil Servants’ time, I am afraid that we will need to extend this period to ensure a proper and well considered review can take place.

You should therefore receive a response to your Internal Review request within 40 working days of that original request (on, or before 6 November).

Kind regards
FOI Advice Team
Department for Transport

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FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Graeme,

I am writing regarding your request for an Internal Review of your FOI.

Regrettably, we require more time to consider your request and so we will need to extend the deadline by a further 10 working days. You should therefore receive a response no later than 20 November.

I am sorry for the delay in responding.

Kind regards
FOI Advice Team
Department for Transport

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FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Graeme,

I am writing regarding your request for an Internal Review of your FOI.

The Senior Civil Servant who is reviewing your request has asked for more time to consider the points you raised and so we will need to extend the deadline by a further 5 working days. You should therefore receive a response on or before 27 November.

I am very sorry for the continued delay.

Kind regards
FOI Advice Team
Department for Transport

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Deepak Patel, Department for Transport

Dear Mr Bickerdike

 

I write further to our email dated 19 November 2019.

 

Unfortunately, the reviewer of the Internal Review request you submitted
on 11 September 2019 still requires more time to finalise the response to
you. Regrettably, we will therefore need to extend the deadline to respond
to 4 December 2019. We will of course aim to respond sooner if it is at
all possible.

 

Once again, I am very sorry for the continued delay in responding
substantively to your request for an Internal Review.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Advice Team

Department for Transport

 

 

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FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike,

Please find attached the response to your review request.

I am very sorry for the time taken to respond.

Kind regards
FOI Advice Team
Department for Transport

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