FOI request detail

Emails discussing my FOI request FOI-0254-1920 about Hammersmith Bridge closure emails

Request ID: FOI-0764-1920
Date published: 10 July 2019

You asked

Please release all emails between employees of TFL, and between TFL and Hammersmith and Fulham council discussing my FOI Request FOI-0254-1920

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0764-1920

Thank you for your request received on 13 June 2019 asking for information about your recent request regarding Hammersmith Bridge.

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

Please find the requested correspondence attached. In accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some information has been withheld from the attached correspondence, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. 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.

With regard to the attachments from the emails, as stated in our response to FOI-0254-1920, in accordance with the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply some of the correspondence we have had with the Borough as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under sections 24 and 38. We consider that section 24(1) applies in order to safeguard national security and section 38(1)(a) and (b) applies as disclosure would be likely to endanger the health and safety of individuals.
In this instance the exemptions have been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested could assist persons wishing to disrupt London’s transport infrastructure by placing into the public domain information which would otherwise not be available via any accessible means.
The current threat level in the UK remains severe, and there have been attacks and suspicious devices found recently at transport hubs, including bridges, in London. The detail provided in some of the correspondence could be used by persons with nefarious intentions.
The correspondence contains very detailed descriptions of the bridge, structural drawings, and photographs taken during inspections which provide significant detail as to the condition, material composition, structure, size and potential strengths and weaknesses that exist on the bridge. Provision of this information would reduce the opportunity for intervention as suspicious behaviour is more likely to be detected and apprehended if an individual cannot access information about security arrangements and structural information via the internet and instead has to physically visit a site in order to view and assess the security arrangements.
The Information Commissioner’s Office have issued a Decision Notice regarding the application of sections 24 and 38 to withhold information. Whilst the information requested in this case is different to the information you have requested we believe the same arguments can be applied:
The use of these exemptions are subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, and acknowledge that there is some public interest in this information from a public safety perspective. However, disclosure of this information to you has to be regarded as a disclosure to ‘the public at large’. This information could potentially be obtained and utilised by individuals who may wish to use this information to cause disruption or harm to London’s transport infrastructure. In this instance, minimising the risk to transport infrastructure and protecting the welfare of members of the general public outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
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.

The attachments not covered by these exemptions are published on our website:

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 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

[email protected]


Back to top

Want to make a request?

We'll email you the response within 20 working days.

We'll publish the response online without disclosing any personal information.