FOI request detail

Funding details

Request ID: FOI-2042-2021
Date published: 27 January 2021

You asked

Please could you send me all the correspondence between TFL and Waltham Forest Council with regards applying for funding for: 1) The Station Road low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in 2020 2) Mini-holland cycling scheme

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2042-2021

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 12th January 2021 asking for information about the ‘Station Road’ Low Traffic Neighbourhood and Mini-Holland cycling schemes.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

Specifically you asked:

Please could you send me all the correspondence between TFL and Waltham Forest Council with regards applying for funding for:

1) The Station Road low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in 2020

2) Mini-holland cycling scheme.”

I can confirm that we hold the information you require. However, I am afraid that it is not possible to respond to your request within the costs limit for responding to FOI cases, as set out in section 12 of the FOI Act. Under section 12, a public authority such as TfL is not required to provide information if it would cost more than £450 to determine if the information is held, and to then locate, retrieve or extract that information from elsewhere. This is calculated at a rate of £25 per hour, equivalent to 18 hours work.

There is no easy or efficient way for us to source all of the information you have requested. In particular, the Mini-Holland project dates back to 2013. Given you have requested “all correspondence” with the local authority about applying for funding, in order to comply with the request we would have to find every item of correspondence exchanged across that period that falls within the definition of your request. This is no simple task. In the last year and a half alone colleagues estimate that they have exchanged hundreds of emails with Waltham forest that were in some way about funding the project. This suggests that going back to 2013 there will likely be many hundreds more. Trying to discern which emails are specifically about “applying for funding” and which are not would, in practice, involve finding and reviewing all items exchanged about the project as there is no practical way of using automated searches to narrow the material so specifically. While it is difficult to judge exactly how long this would take, it is an inordinate task that we believe would be far in excess of the 18 hour costs limit.

In order to bring your request within the costs limit you may wish to narrow its scope to focus on the material that is of most importance to you. I would advise that before considering doing so you review the following page of the Information Commissioner’s website which provides guidance on how best to access information from public bodies:

Note in particular the table of “Dos and Don’ts” that can be found on that page that advises the following:

Do… Be as specific as possible about the information you want rather than asking general questions. Try to include details such as dates and names whenever you can. It may also assist the authority in identifying the information if you explain the purpose behind your request.

Don’t… Send ‘catch-all’ requests for information (such as ‘please provide me with everything you hold about ‘x’) when you aren’t sure what specific documents to ask for.

Don’t… Deliberately ‘fish’ for information by submitting a very broad or random requests in the hope it will catch something noteworthy or otherwise useful. Requests should be directed towards obtaining information on a particular issue, rather than relying on pot luck to see if anything of interest is revealed.

Note further that, in relation to the element of your request about the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme, we do not recognise exactly what the “Station Road” reference relates to. If you do submit a refined request it would be useful to clarify exactly what scheme / location this is about.

If you are considering submitting a further FOI request please think carefully about whether the request is essential at this current time, as answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. Where requests are made, please note that our response time may be impacted by the current situation.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely,

David Wells

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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