Report to ministers re rail to scotland

Paul Thornton made this Freedom of Information request to High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

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 refused by High Speed Two (HS2) Limited.

Dear High Speed Two (HS2) Limited,

I note the report in the Scotsman at this link:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/h...

It refers to:

“Advice prepared by HS2 Ltd to identify broad options for high speed and upgraded railways to Scotland has been completed on time and is now with ministers, who are considering next steps.

“This advice will be published in due course.”

Under the obligations of the Environmental information Regulations there are no grounds for publication of the advice to be delayed. Please provide the completed advice "as soon as possible" as required under the regulations. There are no grounds even to delay to the 20 day maximum period allowed under the regulations.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Paul Thornton

HS2Enquiries, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

Thank you for your email to HS2 Ltd. Your email has been received by the
helpdesk. We aim to respond to all enquiries as soon as possible.

 

For more information please visit our website - [1]www.gov.uk/hs2

 

This email is scanned and cleared by Websense. HS2 Ltd is registered in
England and Wales. Registration Number 06791686, Registered office High
Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, One Canada Square, London, E14 5AB, England. This
email is sent subject to our disclaimer which can be accessed via our
website at [2]www.hs2.org.uk/email-policy

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gov.uk/hs2
2. http://www.hs2.org.uk/email-policy

Dear High Speed Two (HS2) Limited,

I submitted a request for information under the EIRs on the 26th May 2015 under the above heading via the "whatdotheyknow.com" website. It is viewable online.

I received an automated response but no substantive reply from you. A response is therefore substantially over due and I would still wish you to provide the information.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Thornton

HS2Enquiries, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

Thank you for your email to HS2 Ltd. Your email has been received by the
helpdesk. We aim to respond to all enquiries as soon as possible.

 

For more information please visit our website - [1]www.gov.uk/hs2

 

This email is scanned and cleared by Websense. HS2 Ltd is registered in
England and Wales. Registration Number 06791686, Registered office High
Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, One Canada Square, London, E14 5AB, England. This
email is sent subject to our disclaimer which can be accessed via our
website at [2]www.hs2.org.uk/email-policy

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gov.uk/hs2
2. http://www.hs2.org.uk/email-policy

HS2Enquiries, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Thank you for your email to HS2 Ltd. Please accept my apologies that you
have not received a response to this request. It was unfortunately
overlooked due to an admin error.

 

Your request will be treated under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 and we will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.
Your reference for this request is FOI15-1376.

 

Kind regards,

Jane Ivey.

 

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Jane Ivey | Freedom of Information Manager | HS2 Ltd 

Tel: 020 7944 4908 | [1][email address] | [2]Facebook | [3]Twitter
| [4]LinkedIn

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, One Canada Square, London E14 5AB  |
[5]www.gov.uk/hs2

 

 

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HS2Enquiries, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

4 Attachments

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Thank you for your information request to HS2 Ltd. We have treated your
request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and I attach
our response.  Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to
your request.

 

Please note your reference number for this request is FOI15-1376.

 

Kind regards,

Jane Ivey

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jane Ivey | Freedom of Information Manager | HS2 Ltd 

Tel: 020 7944 4908 | [1][email address] | [2]Facebook | [3]Twitter
| [4]LinkedIn

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, One Canada Square, London E14 5AB  |
[5]www.gov.uk/hs2

 

 

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Ms Jane Ivey
Freedom of Information Manager
HS2 Ltd

Dear Ms Ivey,

Thank you for your email of the 4th September 2015 with the accompanying enclosures. your ref FOI15-1376. I note the decision to withhold the information under EIR 12(4)(d). I am writing to request an internal review of that decision.

It is acknowledged that it is intended to place the information requested in the public domain. There is no indication of when this will occur. Your decision is therefore wholly one in respect of the timing for publication.

The decision demonstrates a misunderstanding of the Environmental Information Regulations and their derivation from the Aarhus Convention via the subsequent EU Directive. The key purpose of those regulations is to ensure that environmental information is placed in the public domain “as soon as possible” and particularly before decisions are taken so as to ensure full democratic public participation in the decision making process. The arguments you have put forwarded are predicated on the notion that information should not be published until a decision is made.

I note the claim that the “report is a final draft and additional policy work may add to or refine the information and data it contains”. It has nonetheless been shared out-with the authoring public authority.
Further work will be undertaken in this matter once UK and Scottish ministers have considered the information provided. This is a decision. It may not be a final decision. It may not be a binding decision. It will however be a decision that has consequences.

The notion that a document may need to be “updated” in response to future events cannot make it an unfinished or incomplete document at the present time. Your claimed rationale is so broad that no plans would be published because changes may be needed in the future.

The document had been completed sufficiently for submission to UK and Scottish ministers at the time I submitted my request.

Indeed the minister informed parliament that the document is completed. I note that you have edited that acknowledgement out of the minister’s quotation that you have included in the public interest analysis.

As the disputed information is a completed document, EIR 12(4)(d) cannot be engaged.

It is essential that the advice is placed in the public domain so that ministers have the benefit of independent advice and critique from the public, MP’s and MSP’s before they make any decision. “Members of the public” includes independent economic, transport and civil engineering experts.

The information may also provide the earliest indication – “as soon as possible” – for members of the public who might be directly affected by the construction of the future new railway line. That would be wholly consistent with the purpose of the convention, the directive and the EIRs.

I note that your public interest test analysis is internally inconsistent. On the one hand you list three factors supporting disclosure. On the other hand you endeavour to claim “There is no foreseeable benefit to the public in releasing the information earlier”.

A public interest argument that withholds information because “it is still under active consideration” and because “decisions have yet to be taken” is wholly contrary to the letter and spirit of the EIR legislation. Neither would this make the information uncompleted

If ministers have to be given advice with key information omitted, or known unknowns, that omission can be pointed out in a caveat. Such information provision would be no more likely to “misinform the public” than it would misinform a minister. The notion that publication “would mislead the public into thinking that decisions have been made when in fact they have not” is a wholly inane and empty claim. Indeed the whole public interest argument displays patronising contempt for the general public.

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

Yours sincerely,

Dr Paul Thornton

HS2Enquiries, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

4 Attachments

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Please find attached the internal review decision in respect of your
request FOI15-1376R.

 

Kind regards,

Jane Ivey

 

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Jane Ivey | Freedom of Information Manager | HS2 Ltd 

Tel: 020 7944 4908 | [1][email address] | [2]Facebook | [3]Twitter
| [4]LinkedIn

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, One Canada Square, London E14 5AB  |
[5]www.gov.uk/hs2

 

 

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