FOI request detail

Garden Bridge

Request ID: FOI-2129-1617
Date published: 28 March 2017

You asked

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you provide me with the following? Any correspondence (letters or emails) – between JULY 18, 2016 and JULY 31, 2016 – to or from the following individuals, that relates to the “Garden Bridge” and/or to the project’s “Operations and Maintenance Business Plan” (sometimes referred to as just “the Business Plan” or the “OMBP”). Mike Brown Alex Williams Andy Brown Please include any correspondence between any of these officers and the following organisations, within this period and insofar as it relates to the Garden Bridge and its Business Plan: The Greater London Authority The Department for Transport Lambeth Borough Council The Garden Bridge Trust Coin Street Community Builders

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2129-1617


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 31 January 2017 asking for information about the Garden Bridge


Your requests have been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) and TfL’s information access policy and I can confirm that we do hold the information you have requested.


However, we are not obliged to supply the information requested as it is subject to the exception set out in Regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIRs. This is because identifying, retrieving and extracting the information you have requested would impose unreasonable costs on us and require an unreasonable diversion of resources.


We have conducted a search of the email accounts of the individuals requested across the specified time period using the following keywords:


“Garden Bridge”


“Business Plan”


This search produced a total of 918 emails, each of which would need to be manually reviewed to determine whether it fits within the scope of your request and then redacted where necessary (such as the removal of personal data). It is also possible that this search wouldn’t contain every email that fits within the scope of your request. This approach would miss any instances where, for example, the Garden Bridge had been abbreviated to “GB” but the above keywords are not featured in any part of the email or chain. We would therefore potentially need to broaden this search further to ensure that everything we hold is captured, which would increase the burden required to process this request.


As stated, there is no way of further filtering them down without manually going through each and every email. It should be further noted that these results would include emails where the named individuals were copied in rather than being the direct sender/recipient, or included within a much larger chain of emails which, again, would need to be manually checked in order to extract and collate only the emails that are relevant to your request. This would clearly take an excessive amount of staff time and resources.


As part of my considerations, I have run the above search excluding the keyword “Garden Bridge” and this found 270 emails. These have not yet been extracted or checked in any way so I can not confirm the precise number that will be relevant to your request but does allow a refinement which should be manageable if you wish to resubmit your request. The manual process of reviewing, extracting, collating and redacting will still apply but this is clearly a far more manageable number for what is a limited resource.


The use of this exception is subject to a public interest test, which requires us to consider whether the public interest in applying the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. We recognise that the release of information would promote accountability and transparency in public services. However, the time it would take to provide the information you have requested would divert a disproportionate amount of our resources from its core functions and on balance we consider that the public interest currently favours the use of the exception.


We will consider your requests again, if you are able to narrow their scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. If you have specific questions we will be happy to consider them.


Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.


Yours sincerely


Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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