FOI request detail

Subsidence claim - Stanstead Road, London, SE23

Request ID: FOI-2130-2021
Date published: 04 February 2021

You asked

We are instructed by our above named client in relation to subsidence damage at their property. A Plane tree under your ownership and or control is implicated in the damage and we therefore require certain information from you. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, we request the following information and documentation: 1. Copies of your tree policies within the period 2010 and 2017 or where to locate said policies if readily accessible in electronic format; 2. A copy of your tree maintenance works carried out to the Plane tree under your ownership and control, located to the main house and rear projection of the above Property, between 2010 and 2018, pertaining to but not restricted to recommended works, extent of works completed and inspections; 3. A copy of your risk analysis in respect of Plane tree, between 2010 and 2017, to include any maintenance regimes, if any, also carried out within this period; 4. Details of the information retained by and/or accessible to you in respect of the soil types in: 4.1 The Stanstead Road area 5. The number of tree related subsidence claims that have been brought against you within the SE23 postcode area and Stanstead Road between 2010 and 2017. For each claim please confirm: 5.1 Location of the tree (by house number) 5.2 Species of the implicated tree 5.3 The date of the claim

We answered

Our ref: FOI-2130-2021/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 14 January 2021 asking for information about tree maintenance on Stanstead Road.

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 the information you require. However, to provide the information you have requested would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with requests if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. In this instance, we estimate that the time required to answer your request would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’.

You have asked for:

The number of tree related subsidence claims that have been brought against you within the SE23 postcode area and Stanstead Road between 2010 and 2017.

Our claims handler, Gallagher Bassett, do not record claims by geographical location, and therefore to provide information on any claims relating to trees in the SE23 postcode area would not be an easy task and would require manual checks of all claims received to ascertain if they are relevant to this location. Therefore answering your request would take an excessive amount of time.

On average Gallagher Basset receive over 40 claims relating to ‘vegetation’ each year. To answer your request we would therefore need to retrieve and review approximately 320 cases over 8 years.

Each one of those will need to be manually reviewed to:

1 – ascertain if it is a tree root claim – it may be that the claim relates to a fallen tree branch that has damaged a parked car for instance.

2 - ascertain the address of the property that is the subject to the claim,

3 - checked to see whether the address falls within the area you refer to.

We estimate that this would take an average of 5 minutes a claim, which would total over 26 hours, to answer this part of your request on its own.

The other point that we would need to consider is whether the release of information relating to specific properties would be appropriate, as details of other claims would contain personal information and disclosure therefore may be a breach of GDPR.

To help bring the cost of responding to your requests within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider refining your requests to concentrate on matters which are important to you.

Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, TfL does not have to answer your question if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at the time of your request. If you have specific questions relating to these topics we may be more easily able to respond to these than to a request for any information held.

Information is available outside of the FOI process as part of the usual claims process with Gallagher Bassett and you may therefore find this route a better way to obtain information relevant to your claim. 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.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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