FOI request detail

CR2 Blight Notices

Request ID: FOI-1270-1920
Date published: 22 August 2019

You asked

I would like copies of all Blight Notice’s received in relation to the Crossrail 2 Scheme and the response. I would also like copies of related correspondence.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-1270-1920

Thank you for your request received on 26 July 2019 asking for information about blight notices in relation to Crossrail 2.

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.

However, we are refusing your request under section 14(1) of the Act. After reviewing a sample of the documents we hold, we consider that providing the requested information would place an unreasonable burden and demand a disproportionate effort from a small number of personnel. We do wish to clarify that whilst we consider that your request falls under section 14(1) of the FOI Act, this does not reflect a conclusion that it has been your intention to deliberately place an undue burden on our resources.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance states that one of the indicators of a request which may fall under section 14(1) is that it “appears to be part of a completely random approach, lacks any clear focus, or seems to have been solely designed for the purpose of ‘fishing’ for information without any idea of what might be revealed.”

The ICO guidance provides the following examples of a ‘fishing expedition’ request which may fall under section 14(1) if it:
• Imposes a burden by obliging the authority to sift through a substantial volume of information to isolate and extract the relevant details;
• Encompasses information which is only of limited value because of the wide scope of the request;
• Creates a burden by requiring the authority to spend a considerable amount of time considering any exemptions and redactions.

Our view is that all three of these examples apply in this instance.

To date, Crossrail 2 has been served six blight notices. The project has responded to five blight notices as follows (one case is ongoing):

• Three blight notices were served with counter notices citing that the applicants i) did not have a qualifying interest and ii) had not made reasonable endeavours to sell
• One blight notice was served with a counter notice citing that the applicants did not have a qualifying interest since they did not fulfil the occupational qualifying criteria of owner occupiers of the subject property
• One blight notice was served with a counter notice citing that the appropriate authority propose in the exercise of relevant powers to acquire a part of the hereditament but do not propose to acquire any other part of that hereditament or area in the exercise of any such powers

We have estimated that to comply with your request for “copies of all Blight Notice’s received in relation to the Crossrail 2 scheme and the response”, as well as copies of all related correspondence (which we have assumed is for correspondence in relation to the six notices rather than all correspondence relating to “blight”), approximately 600 pages of text within the documents, emails and other correspondence associated with the six blight claims would have to be reviewed.

Searching through such a significant volume of documents to collate them would be a significant task. By its nature, we feel this wide request will very likely encompass information which is only of limited value. As you will be aware, the blight notices, the responses and related correspondence will include sensitive information issued to Crossrail 2 by third party’s that will need to be redacted and text removed prior to publication.

We consider the burden of retrieving, reviewing and redacting the information would be disproportionate to the benefit of providing it. Therefore, due to the wide scope of your request, we are refusing it under s14 of the FOI Act. If you would like to re-submit a more focused, specific request then we will, of course, consider it.

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]

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