Westminster Bridge - gritting
Request ID: FOI-1328-1718
Date published: 26 September 2017
Re: FOI 0659-1718/GH - issues arising from your replies
Further to my telephone call to you on Friday 12th August 2017, I am now in a position to raise the issues in detail, that I outlined and we briefly discussed , in order for you to provide a detailed substantive reply, to satisfy my Freedom of Information request.
First, there appears to be a contradiction between what you say in your email dated 10th July 2017, in which you stated that Westminster Bridge is categorised as a "prestige" walking route, whereas the two maps you have sent, show Westminster Bridge is categorised as a "primary" walking route: can you clarify whether Westminster Bridge is categorised as "prestige" or "primary" walking route.
NOTE: Please qualify your answer by reference to the appropriate policy, plan, manual (or other relevant document) - such as the Winter Service Plan - with reference to specific clauses/paragraphs and page numbers etc. and also provide me with a copy of the said document(s) from which your replies have ultimately been quoted, rather than just to provide me with replies (without any qualification/references) that you have received back from the Street Management team.
Second, in both of your emails dated 10th July 2017 and 10th August 2017, you have stated that TfL follow the guidance contained in the document entitled Well Maintained Highways. Having now duly consulted the said document - which runs to some 512 pages - it has been reported that this document tends: "...to concentrate on carriageway treatments with less emphasis and information being provided for footways" [SOURCE: NSSRG Winter Service of Footways and Cycleways Report 2008]. It is also stated by the NSSRG report on page 6 that: "Recommendations and guidance for the production of winter service plans are contained in the Code [Well Maintained Highways]." It is further stated in paragraph 3.3.1 of the NSSRD Report that: "Local authorities are responsible for drawing up their own maintenance plans covering routes under their control. Advice and recommendations for footways and cycleway maintenance are contained in the Code."
Well Maintained Highways (2013 edition) paragraph 1.3.1 states: "The suggested recommendations of this Code are explicity not mandatory on authorities". I further note that paragraph 2.3.11 states: "The need is stressed, throughout this Code, for authorities to establish and publish clear strategies and policies."
With reference to Section 13 Winter Service of Well Maintained Highways (2013 edition), it is stated in Recommendation 13.1 that: "Authorities should formally approve and adopt policies for Winter Service". It is further stated in Recommendation 13.8 that: "Authorities should formally approve, adopt and publish...a Winter Service Plan based on the principles of this Code."
It is therefore clear to me, taking into account what I have quoted to you above and with reference to my email to you dated 11th July 2017, in which I specifically asked you to provide me with a copy of TfL's Winter Service plan, that this document will no doubt contain the authority-specific detailed information I am seeking from TfL about the actual criteria used by TfL to determine when to grit particular categories of footways and will also likely be the ultimate source of the replies and information that you have provided to me thus far, that you in turn obtained from TfL Street Management. Therefore, can you please send me a copy of the current TfL Winter Service Plan, which I understand was previously (and may still be) Chapter 4 of the Transport for London Road Network Maintenance Manual.
Third, I have asked you for the temperature (or parameters of temperature) which trigger the pre-treatment of prestige walkways. You have replied that TfL do not have a specific temperature or range of temperatures and that the decision to treat is based on weather conditions and weather forecasts. I am somewhat perplexed at this reply. This answer seems to make no sense. If weather forecasts and conditions are used by TfL to determine when to commence precautionary and reactive footway treatments, then surely it logically follows necessarily, that the forecast temperatures MUST be the principal determining factor to be taken into account in making the decision whether to treat or not, in respect of icy conditions.
Section 13.3.9 of Well Maintained Highways (2013 edition) states that: "The trigger point and protocol for activating the winter service network should be agreed within the authority, documented and communicated....The overall approach should be detailed within the Winter Service Plan."
Perhaps, it may assist you if I re-phrase the question I have previously put to you but have not yet received a satisfactory reply (for the reasons stated above). The pertinent question is: What is/are the trigger point(s) used by TfL to determine when to treat prestige and priority footways on both a precautionary and reactionary basis?
NOTE: Please qualify this answer by reference to specific policy/plan documents quoting paragraph and page references as applicable.
Fourth, with regard to the resolution/clarity of pan London footway hierarchy map which you have now sent twice, at increased resolutions, despite viewing the latest map (2Mb at 800%), I am still unable to identify individual roads on it as it is still of extremely poor resolution/clarity and therefore is of little practical use. However, as we discussed by phone, it may assist you to comply with my FOI request if I was to narrow the area required to be covered by the map. Therefore, I would request that you arrange to send me a map detailing the prestige and priority footways radiating outwards from Westminster Bridge for a radius distance of 1 mile. To be clear about what I am seeking , I need to be able to identify individual road names on the map that you supply in order to satisfy this part of the FOI request.
Fifth, you have now confirmed that TfL are the Highway Authority in respect of Westminster Bridge. This reply satisfies the third part of the FOI request.
Our ref: FOI-1328-1718
Thank you for your email of 29 August 2017, asking for further information regarding Westminster Bridge.
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 some of the information you require.
- Westminster Bridge is categorised as a “prestige” route. Please accept my apologies for the previous conflicting information provided to you. However, we do not hold any formal policy or documents which details this.
- We do not have a winter service plan, we are reliant on our contactors plan, the one covering the Westminster area is attached as a PDF file.
- We do not have trigger points for footway treatment.
- We do not have a map which specifically details the prestige and priority routes.
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.
If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
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