Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Local Implementation Plan 3 for Kingston Council

Caroline Scott made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Transport for London should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Transport for London,

Please can you send me:

1. The Strategic Environmental Assessment that was submitted to TfL in 2019 as part of Kingston Council's LIP3 (the "SEA") with evidence of the date of submission of the SEA?
2. Any correspondence between TfL and Kingston Council, in whatsoever form it may exist, regarding the SEA between 12 February 2019 and today's date?
3. Any internal correspondence between employees of TfL, in whatsoever form it may exist, regarding the SEA between 12 February 2019 and today's date?

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

Dear C Scott

TfL Ref: FOI-3816-1920

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 8 March 2020 asking for information about Local Implementation Plans.

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

A response will be sent to you by 6 April 2020. We publish a substantial range of information on our website on subjects including operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Melissa Nichols
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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FOI, Transport for London

Dear C Scott

TfL Ref: FOI-3816-1920

Thank you again for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 8 March 2020 asking for information about the Local Implementation Plans.

Your request is being considered under the terms of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

To enable us to fully consider your request in accordance with the EIR, we have had to extend the deadline for providing a response to 40 working days from the date we received your request. The amended date for a final response is now 6 May 2020. We are working hard to ensure that you receive a response before this date.

I apologise for the delay and any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Melissa Nichols
FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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Dear Transport for London,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Local Implementation Plan 3 for Kingston Council'.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment ("the SEA") for the Local Implementation Plan 3 for Kingston Council ("LIP3") is a public document that should have been completed in early 2019 and submitted to Transport for London immediately at that time. The SEA was eventually completed very late by Kingston Council after the LIP3 in early summer 2019, after a short public consultation that was not publicised and the results of the consultation were never shared with Kingston Council's stakeholders, including residents.

I am requesting an internal review because there can be absolutely no reason for delaying a response to my request because:

1.the SEA is a completed statutorily-required document that should now have been published alongside the Kingston LIP3 on Kingston Council's website as a Local Development Scheme document in early 2019;
2. It is a document that will form part of the new Local Plan in which Kingston residents and other stakeholders have a direct public interest;
3. Residents of Kingston and beyond have the legal right read the conclusions of the SEA - particularly as it had not been written when the LIP3 was approved, a breach the council's statutory duties;
4. TfL and Kingston Council have a duty to make their communications, deliberations and conclusions in relation to the SEA public, especially given the fact that the SEA was completed in a delayed fashion, avoiding the ability of the public to scrutinise its contents alongside the LIP3 of which it forms a critical and legal part
5. It is in the interests of transparency and accountability and to promote public awareness and understanding and to safeguard democratic processes that communications relating to the delayed SEA should be published
6. The whole of the population of Kingston is affected by development and transport infrastructure proposals being pursued by Kingston Council, and there is an overriding public interest that all Kingston Council stakeholders should have access to deliberations that will affect us
7. The reason why Kingston Council failed to meet its statutory duty to complete a SEA alongside the LIP3 is unclear, despite my challenge of the decision to approve the LIP3; the Council ignored my explicit challenge on this matter. Reasonable suspicion therefore exists that there may have been some wrong-doing in the failure to complete the SEA on time and to publish the report or that a conflict of interests may be driving TFL and/or Kingston Council in its decision-making. There is a strong argument that communications need to be published in order to ensure and contribute to good decision-making by public authorities on the public's behalf in the future
8. A public authority shall always apply a presumption in favour of disclosure of information.

I await full disclosure of the requested information at your earliest convenience.

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

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 6 April 2020.

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following URL:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 6 May 2020. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Advisor
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel

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Dear FOI,

I would like to make you aware that TfL has a legal duty to respond promptly to a FOI Act request and I see no reason why my request should have been delayed.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Scott

I am contacting you regarding your internal review request concerning the extension of a further 20 working days under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). This review has been carried out following your email of 6 April.

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) allows that where a request is made under regulation 5 of the EIR and where a public authority reasonably believes that the complexity and volume of the information requested means that it is impracticable to comply with the request within the 20 working day timeframe, they may extend the period of 20 working days to 40 working days as referred to in the provisions in paragraph (2) of the regulations.

Whilst the panel understand that individuals are keen to receive the information they request as soon as possible, in this instance it was necessary to apply the referred to extension due to the complexity in identifying and locating the information required to answer your request in full. The situation was reviewed and it was agreed by senior team member that an extension under the provisions of the EIR was appropriate. This was communicated to you in our email of 6 April with a new advised response date of 6 May.

The Panel agree that as a full response has yet to be provided to you, we do not consider that this review necessarily represents the end of the internal review process. We consider it would be appropriate in the context of this request to offer you a further internal review of the content of the response to FOI-3816-1920 if you choose, even though you have already exercised your right to a review in view of our time extension.

Therefore, once received, if you are not satisfied with the final response provided to FOI-3816-1920 please contact [TfL request email]. Alternatively if you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date you can refer the matter to the independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act, at the following address:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website (www.ico.org.uk).

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your message. I hope you are staying safe and well.

I do not accept this statement to be factually correct: "it was necessary to apply the referred to extension due to the complexity in identifying and locating the information required to answer your request in full"

I simply asked for the SEA of the LIP3, a single document that should have been submitted by Kingston Council last year to you, as well as internal correspondence relating to the LIP3, and correspondence about the LIP3 between yourselves and Kingston Council.

I would appreciate receipt of the information at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

7 Attachments

Dear Ms Scott

 

Our Ref:         FOI-3816-1920

 

Thank you for your request received on 8 March 2020 asking for information
about the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Local
Implementation Plan 3 for Kingston Council.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Environmental Information Regulations and our information access
policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require.

 

Please find the requested information attached. The attached SEA is marked
as draft, we cannot confirm that this is the Council’s final version,
however it is the latest version that we hold. Please contact Kingston
Council directly if you still require the final version.

 

In accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some
personal data has been removed, as required by regulation 13 of the EIR.
This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the
legislation, specifically the first principle of Article 5 of the General
Data Protection Regulation which requires all processing of personal data
to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal
information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed
and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the
processing ‘fair’.

 

This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute
exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest
favours use of the exemption.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

 

Please note, the Government has announced a series of measures to tackle
the coronavirus. It is essential for London, and in particular for all
critical workers, that we continue to provide a safe transport network
that enables them to make the journeys they need to.

 

In current circumstances, we are not able to answer requests readily and
we ask that you please do not make a request to us at present.

 

Answering requests will require the use of limited resources and the
attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In
any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the
current situation.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for the information you have sent me.

However, you do not appear to have sent me the reply to the following message sent on 4 June 2019 at 13.10 from TfL to Kingston Council. Please can you do so with urgency?

The Kingston LIP3 is an integral part of the Mayor's Transport Strategy which is being used to justify the policies for massive development in Kingston in the new London Plan and it is vital that the public knows that the governance arrangements for the approval of such an important document INCLUDING the Strategic Environmental Assessment that INFORMS its content, was robust. It is therefore in the public interest that you disclose this information immediately and without delay.

Please note that I and one other resident submitted lengthy, relevant and detailed responses to the SEA consultation on the last day that submissions were allowed ie 30 June 2019. The LIP3 was finalised with NO meaningful amendments at all to reflect comments made and sent to the GLA for approval on 3rd July 2020 ie the NEXT business day. It is difficult to understand how any governance arrangement could allow for this timing of approval to take place and how the Mayor could approve a document that so obviously did not meet statutory requirements for an environmental assessment of a Local Implementation Plan.

From Joanne Fricker at Tfl to Ian Price at Kingston Council cc Stephanie Pathak , Kingston Council and ccMcGreevy Richard; Mervyn Bartlett; Vidion Zoe at TfL
"Hi Ian
Please can you confirm your internal governance arrangements and timeline to sign off the SEA and LIP
(following any changes the SEA may uncover)?
Are you able to submit both documents to us by 17 June?
Please let us know if that poses a problem.
Kind Regards
Jo"

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

Dear FOI,
Confirmation of DATES
I am aware that the consultation on the SEA of the LIP3 finished on Friday 28 June 2019 and that the council submitted the LIP3 and SEA to TfL on Monday 1st July 2019 for approval on 3rd July 2019.

I am also aware that the submission timings had been pre-agreed even before consultation on the SEA had taken place:

"On Mon, 17 Jun 2019 at 16:36, Ian Price @kingston.gov.uk> wrote:
Dear all,
Can I just clarify the current status of the SEA consultation and the timetable.
The SEA consultation went live the first week of June, and is running until 28 June.
We are dealing with questions as they come in, and will have our Lead Member lined
up to sign off the document over the weekend, as soon as the consultation closes.
We will then send the SEA and any minor tweaks to the LIP3, should they be
required.
regards
Ian"

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Scott

 

Thank you for your email. I have been advised that a response was sent by
Ian Price on 17 Jun 2019 at 16:36, was in response to the email of 4 June
2019 sent by Joanne Fricker. This email was sent as part of the documents
sent to you in our response, I have attached it again for reference. It is
at the bottom of the email chain.

 

With regard to your second email (attached), can you please confirm if you
are requesting further information. If so, can you please state what
information you require.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your reply. I would like to see the reply that Tfl received from Kingston Council outlining the governance arrangements in place and that they followed for the approval of the LIP3 and its accompanying SEA before they sent it to TfL on 1st July 2019. You have not sent this information to me.
Please send any follow up emails and any emails or other information relating to TfL's request to know the governance arrangements for the approval of the LIP3 and SEA in Kingston.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

Dear FOI,

In respect of the email without a request for further clarification, I apologise for the oversight. The email should have read:

"Dear FOI,

Please can you send information that shows that TfL was satisfied with the process that Kingston Council says it was going to follow for approval of the SEA and LIP3 as outlined by Ian Price below with the SEA and changes to the LIP3 being approved by the "Lead Member". Please can you also send information that shows that TfL considered that the process undertaken by Kingston Council met the statutory requirements for undertaking an SEA and incorporating its findings in to a final LIP?

"On Mon, 17 Jun 2019 at 16:36, Ian Price @kingston.gov.uk> wrote:
Dear all,
Can I just clarify the current status of the SEA consultation and the timetable.
The SEA consultation went live the first week of June, and is running until 28 June.
We are dealing with questions as they come in, and will have our Lead Member lined
up to sign off the document over the weekend, as soon as the consultation closes.
We will then send the SEA and any minor tweaks to the LIP3, should they be
required.
regards
Ian"

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Scott

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Scott

 

Our Ref:         FOI-0701-2021

 

Thank you for your request received on 28 July 2020 asking for information
about the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) and Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

 

The impact of current circumstances on TfL’s resources means we are not
able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make
a request to us at present.

 

Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the
attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In
any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the
current situation. Please notify us as soon as possible if you would like
to withdraw your request at the current time.

 

Should you wish to proceed with the request we will aim to issue a
response by 25 August 2020 in accordance with the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and our information access policy. We publish a substantial
range of information on our website on subjects including operational
performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance and our
financial performance. This includes data which is frequently asked for in
FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Scott

 

Our Ref:         FOI-0701-2021

 

Thank you for your request received on 28 July 2020 asking for information
about the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) and Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) and our information access
policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require.

 

In our response to FOI-3816-1920 (6 May 2020) we provided all the
correspondence we had with the Borough in relation to their LIP and SEA.
We are not required to approve their internal governance arrangements for
their LIP and SEA. When boroughs send us their approved statutory
documents we assume they have secured all necessary internal consents
politically. The attached document is the email chain in point with Ian
Price’s email at the bottom. We did not reply specifically to that email
but did to his further email sent 15 minutes later at 16:51 on 17 June
2019.

 

In accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some
personal data has been removed, as required by regulation 13 of the EIR.
This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the
legislation, specifically the first principle of Article 5 of the General
Data Protection Regulation which requires all processing of personal data
to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal
information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed
and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the
processing ‘fair’.

 

This exception to the right of access to information is an absolute
exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest
favours use of the exemption.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

 

The impact of current circumstances on TfL’s resources means we are not
able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make
a request to us at present.

 

Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the
attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In
any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the
current situation.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

 

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