FOI request detail

Rotherhithe Tunnel weight limit

Request ID: FOI-0437-2122
Date published: 23 June 2021

You asked

Please can you provide me with all internal emails justifying why a light goods vehicle weighing 2063kg poses a safety risk to the tunnel.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-0436-2122/GH & FOI-0437-2122/GH
Thank you for your requests received by Transport for London (TfL) on 1 June 2021 asking for information about the Rotherhithe Tunnel weight limit.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

I can confirm that we do hold the information you require. However, to provide the internal emails you have requested would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with requests if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. In this instance, we estimate that the time required to answer your request would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’.

The information you have requested is potentially held across a variety of different areas of the organisation. Therefore, to locate the information you have requested, we would have to search across the organisation using broad search terms such as ‘Rotherhithe Tunnel’ and ‘weight restrictions’. This would result in a huge number of ‘hits’, and each of these emails would need to be manually reviewed to see if they were in fact relevant to your request and then extract and compile those that are relevant. For such a large number of results, this process would exceed the cost limit explained above. If you have specific questions relating to these topics we may be more easily able to respond to these than to a request for any information held, as this can often incorporate a significant amount of information that is not of interest.

It is also unlikely that any emails would contain any additional information, as the evidence behind the weight limit restrictions comes from BD78/99 which was the extant standard document at the time the restriction was agreed.

Attached is the relevant table from BD78/99 showing the assumed maximum fire size for different vehicles. The different sizes are down to capable load rather than like for like vehicle size. Giving the example of a Mercedes Vito. As a passenger car or taxi it would be estimated that the maximum fire size would be no more than 8MW but as a van it is assumed in the standard that the maximum fire size would be up to 15 MW due to possible load.

Whilst we are unable to provide all internal emails as requested, we have identified the attached email which provides further insight into the evidence behind the restrictions.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

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


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