Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Sir/Madam

In relation to the disused Windsor Hill railway tunnels (SAD/77New & SAD/77Old), please provide me with:

* all visual inspection and detailed examination reports since 2016
* all correspondence/instructions/documentation relating to the installation of security fencing/gates across the entrances (possibly in 2018)
* all surveys recording usage of the tunnels by bats.

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

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Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike

Thank you for your email to Highways England dated 30 July 2020 regarding
freedom of information in relation to Windsor Hill railway tunnels.
 
Based on the information you’ve provided, the tunnels you refer to is
managed by Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, so your query should
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Description
Freedom of Information request - Windsor Hill tunnels

Dear Sir/Madam

In relation to the disused Windsor Hill railway tunnels (SAD/77New &
SAD/77Old), please provide me with:

* all visual inspection and detailed examination reports since 2016
* all correspondence/instructions/documentation relating to the
installation of security fencing/gates across the entrances (possibly in
2018)
* all surveys recording usage of the tunnels by bats.

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Birmingham B32 1AF |
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[4][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
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4. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Nazneen

The disused Windsor Hill railway tunnels are located near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and managed by Highways England's Historical Railways Estate team.

Please progress my request as submitted via HRE.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Smith, Fiona, Highways England Company Limited

Dear Mr Bickerdike

 

Thank you for your request for information about disused Windsor Hill
railway tunnels dated 30 July 2020. I am dealing with it under the terms
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000/Environmental Information
Regulations 2004.

 

The due date for issuing a response is 28 August 2020.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote reference number 101314 in any future communications.

 

Kind regards

Fiona

 

Fiona Smith

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York | Y01 6WP
General Office: +44 (0) 1904 621924

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Fisher, Joanne, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike

Please find attached our response to your recent FOI Request.

 

Due to the size of the attachments the information will be sent in three
emails, this is email one of three.

Kind Regards

 

 

Joanne Fisher

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York |  YO1 6WP

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 068930  

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Fisher, Joanne, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike

Please find attached our response to your recent FOI Request.

 

Due to the size of the attachments the information will be sent in three
emails, this is email three of three.

Kind Regards

 

 

Joanne Fisher

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York |  YO1 6WP

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 068930  

Web: [1]http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk

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Please note – I do not work on Mondays

 

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Fisher, Joanne, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bickerdike

Please find attached our response to your recent FOI Request.

 

Due to the size of the attachement the information will be sent in three
emails, this is email two of three.

Kind Regards

 

 

Joanne Fisher

Historical Railways Estate (on behalf of Department for Transport)
Highways England | 37 Tanner Row | York |  YO1 6WP

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 068930  

Web: [1]http://www.highwaysengland.co.uk

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Please note – I do not work on Mondays

 

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Graeme Bickerdike

Dear Sir/Madam

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

I am writing to request an internal review into Highways England's handling of my FOI request 'Windsor Hill tunnels'.

Firstly, the cost of the fencing installation work at the two tunnels has been redacted on at least six occasions without an exemption/exception being cited. I see no reason why the cost of a minor works project from 2018 should be withheld.

Secondly, in relation to the missing bat survey reports, EIR 12(5)(g) obligates HE to show that disclosure would "more likely than not" have an adverse effect (i.e. a more than 50% chance); it is not enough to show that disclosure could be "potentially harmful".

The view of Natural England, as redacted, does not suggest any likelihood of SSSI designation; indeed it could be interpreted as designation being *unlikely* based on the guidance relevant at the time.

Bat surveys are routinely published as part of planning applications and a quick internet search offers bat surveys for Queensbury, Tidenham, Catesby and Combe Down disused tunnels. It should be noted that recorded bat numbers in Combe Down Tunnel have *increased* since 2013 when it was opened for public use. It is incorrect to suggest that *inadvertently* disturbing a bat is a crime; it is not, although it is clearly undesirable.

The Windsor Hill tunnels are not designated as SSSIs and two local ecological sources tell me that they are not aware of them having significant bat populations. Your inspector's statement that the tunnels were "the most interesting site I have ever surveyed" could simply reflect a lack of familiarity with disused railway tunnels (the Old tunnel is certainly "interesting") and the follow up statement that the site is "worth protecting" is vague and could equally apply to any in which bats have been recorded. Neither statement suggests that the Windsor Hill tunnels are exceptional.

The Bat Crime Annual Report for 2018 (the most recent year for which data is available) records just seven prosecutions for disturbing a bat within its roost across the whole of the UK. This suggests that such a crime is rare.

On the basis that the Windsor Hill tunnels are now fenced off and not already identified as having significant bat populations, it is my view that release of the requested bat surveys has almost zero likelihood of resulting in an adverse effect and that exception 12(5)(g) is therefore not applicable in this case.

My FOI request is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

I look forward to hearing the outcome of your review in due course.

Yours faithfully

Graeme Bickerdike

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority. You can find details of local
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[2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

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respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

For more information on how we use your data please check our privacy
notice at: [3]https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
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[4]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

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FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Bickerdike,

 

Please find attached the internal review ref. IR 101314 of your request
ref. EIR 101314.

 

Kind Regards

 

Jonathan Drysdale

Freedom of Information Officer (HE)

Information & Technology

Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD

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