Statistics for removal of licensed boats

Nigel Moore made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

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 British Waterways Board.

Dear British Waterways Board,

Please provide statistics for the number of licensed boats [if any] that have been removed from BW waters under Section 8 powers. If precise numbers are not available, please confirm whether, to BW’s knowledge, any such boats have ever been forcibly removed while still validly licensed.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your e-mail today.

I wonder whether you would be able to clarify the period which you would like this information to cover.

Currently your request is too wide and would exceed the appropriate limit provided for under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit (£450) BW is relieved of its obligation to comply with the request (s.12(1) Freedom of Information Act 2000). In order to avoid that, greater specificity is required in the request.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
In April 2012 the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
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Dear Information Request,

Ideally, I would like the statistics from 1983; in default, the previous 5 years would be sufficiently informative.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your prompt response.

I am pleased to inform you that once we have confirmed the extent to which the regulations permit the release of the information which you have requested a response will be sent within a 20 working day timescale of receipt of your request on 24th February 2012.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
In April 2012 the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

I am writing further to your clarification of 24th February and your original request for information the same day.

Thank you for narrowing your request to cover the last five years, it was very helpful.

We have carried out a search of our records but we do not hold the information requested.

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear Information Request,

Thank you for your reply; I would, however, appreciate clarification of your answer. I read your answer as being to the effect that you have no records of any validly licensed boats having been forcibly removed under section 8 powers. I would be grateful for confirmation that my understanding is correct.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Dear Information Request,

You are now out of the time within which you ought legally to have responded substantively to my information request. I have asked for a very simple clarification of your somewhat elliptical response to date, which is meaningless absent further context.

For further clarification, my question gave two alternatives: I asked for statistics relating to the number of licensed boats removed under Section 8 powers. If those numbers were unavailable [i.e. in your language “we do not hold that information”], then I asked for confirmation whether, to BW’s knowledge, any such boats have ever been forcibly removed while still validly licensed. This second request has not been answered.

Even without proper record keeping, BW could say “Yes we know of one or more instances but cannot be any more exact.” Alternatively, you could say “To the best of our knowledge no such action has ever been taken.”

The most obvious assumption arising from a statement saying simply “we do not hold the information requested” is that you do not, therefore, have any knowledge of licensed boats being seized under Section 8. An assumption of my own, however, is not sufficient for my purposes; I want a clear confirmation of this from you. It will require no further research and only requires a less coy approach.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your e-mails sent on 20th and 24th March and I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

In my response of 20th March I confirmed that British Waterways does not hold the information you have requested.

The Freedom of Information Act does not require an authority to provide explanations, comments, or justification or any other information unless it is already on record. Neither does the Act require a public authority to create records in order to reply to a request for information, in this example we are not obliged to find the answer to your question from staff who may happen to know it.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear Information Request,

Whether or not you have no obligation to answer the question [which I dispute], the question was not such as any corporation of integrity would find any problem answering. A public body genuinely interested in displaying publicly that they are determined upon dealing with their public with transparency and honesty, would wish to volunteer an answer to so innocuous a question.

Leaning upon an alleged ‘escape clause’ in such circumstances reflects very poorly on you. As the question is a point of some public interest, would you care to reconsider?

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Nick Brown left an annotation ()

I have the following observations:

1 s.8 procedure constitutes the operation of a statutory function by BW. As such they MUST hold this information for varying periods of time depending upon from whose perspective one is considering the issue:

(i) 3 months - being the time limit for bringing a JR
(ie someone who is subjected to a s.8 procedure has the right to bring a JR within 3 months, therefore they MUST hold this data for that period of time)

(ii) 7 years: if they have engaged the s.8 procedure this is followed by an injunction. For BW to be able to seek remedy for a violation of an injunction, they need the injunction papers; thus the s.8 papers; the time limit relating to the Statute of Limitations;

(iii) in perpetuity: if the injunciton is eternal then so is their obligation to carry the papes, per (ii)

(iv) in perpetuity: as a public body they have to carry their records in perpetuity.

2 It is inconceivable that a public body that has s.8 as a "final remedy" that it waves around as its "worst weapon", would not keep records of using that weapon.

3 In any event, BW has responded to me with the stats on use of s.8 so they hold this data (unless they have wilfully destroyed it). I will publish here if I can find this data from 2008.

Dear Information Request,

Further to my last, it is quite simply untrue that you do not have the information requested. In order to be as helpful as possible -

You wrote to me on 13 July 2011 claiming that you retained information relating to served Section 8 Notices back as far as 1 November 2009. The Grand Total of Section 8’d boats you gave as 931.

Of those, 262 were live-aboards, the remaining 669 were non-liveaboards. 37 live-aboards had been licensed [because you state that those licences were revoked before you issued the Notices]. The 669 non-liveaboards were all, according to you, unlicensed.

So, you have already given me the relevant details on 706 out of a grand total of 931 boats, as to whether they were licensed or unlicensed – and the relevant detail is that all those boats were either unlicensed, or had their licences revoked prior to service.

That leaves only 225 ‘live-aboard’ boats regarding which you hold the relevant details. In respect of those you WILL BE ABLE to inform me whether any or all of them were licensed or not. It is the one vital detail that always accompanies the record.

I hope this will assist you in providing the information required.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    RE Freedom of Information request Section 8 statistics for sunken or abandoned boats FOIA136 11.txt

    4K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your helpful e-mail below. Upon receipt of this correspondence I have reviewed our e-mail to you of 13th July 2011 (attached). We note that it is this response from which you have extracted the figures which form the basis of your argument.

I would also bring your particular attention to the following part of this response, which states that:

"We also do not hold a record of the reason(s) for serving the Section 8 notice and are therefore unable to breakdown the number served on sunk, stranded, abandoned or unlawfully moored boats for you."

You are already aware that the information held by British Waterways regarding Section 8 notices is limited and you are already in receipt of the information we do hold.

I am sorry but we simply do not hold the information you have requested and, as I wrote on 26th March, we are not obliged to create information that is not already held by British Waterways in order to respond to a request for information.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear British Waterways Board,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of British Waterways Board's handling of my FOI request 'Statistics for removal of licensed boats'.

It is incontrovertible that BW DO hold sufficient records to satisfy my request. It is absolutely untrue that there are insufficient records as both the content of the previous similar request makes clear, and the fact of ongoing pursuit of such notices through the courts, since 2007.

It is incumbent on BW to provide a sufficient explanation of why they seek to pretend otherwise and withhold the information.

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

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Moore

Nigel Moore left an annotation ()

This had to be the simplest request I’ve ever made. The obvious, expected answer would have been: “NO, we have never removed/seized a licensed boat under Section 8 powers".

EVERY Section 8 Notice is backed by a Patrol Officer report to the local enforcement branch with all relevant details recorded, and these have to be kept on record for all the obvious legal reasons.

I have some such records dating back to 2007, one at least of which is still “live”. Since then computerisation of such records has proceeded apace, and BW have for some time, kept boat licence numbers on computer so that anyone can tap an observed boat number into BW’s website, and discover immediately whether the boat is licensed or not.

Why would they not wish to confirm that they never have seized a licensed boat?

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your e-mail and my apologies for the delay acknowledging, I have been unwell and absent from work for several days.

We will respond to your request from an internal review shortly.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear Information Request,

Please update me on the progress of your Internal Review.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Simon Salem, Marketing Director, is investigating this matter and you will have our Internal Review response shortly.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

show quoted sections

Dear Information Request,

It is now 54 days since my request for an Internal Review, and 14 days since the last promise that Mr Salem would be providing your response “shortly”. I would be grateful for an explanation for the prolonged delay.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

June Pell,

1 Attachment

Please find attached a letter from Simon Salem.

Dear June Pell,

Mr Salem’s response appears to have confused my present request with a re-iteration of a previous one. I have not, in this instance, asked for the reasons for section 8’ing the boats; nor have I asked you to create records that don’t exist; nor asked for you to give explanations – I have simply asked for the record of the number [if any] of the section 8’d boats that were licensed. I expressed myself content to have that information relating only to the boats which the response to a previous request had enumerated. The one item of information that BW infallibly keep for every boat is the record of the licence status for that boat. Pretending otherwise is frankly dishonest.

Perhaps if this clarification of the situation is given to Mr Salem he might appreciate the simplicity of the request; the incontrovertible fact that BW do hold the relevant information, and the appropriateness of suggesting to the relevant department that they are at fault in not imparting the information without further prevarication.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore