FOI request detail

ULEZ signage at Heathrow

Request ID: FOI-3078-2324
Date published: 22 December 2023

You asked

F/on from FOI-2755 Dear TfL I understand your reasoning laid out in your response but disagree with the conclusion. You state that 18 hours at £25 per hour exceeds the £450 limit on FOI requests but this is incorrect. It is equal to £450 and does not exceed it. If it helps I would be happy to also add to the search criteria, ULEZ” AND “Signage” AND “Heathrow” And (T5 Roundabout’ or Wayfarer road’ or ‘weight way’ or Wallis road’ or ‘street lighting’ or ‘Termainl 5’) I my concern relates specifically to the implementation of ULEZ signage in this area and any discussions held about the implementation which may be relevant to the legislation that relates to the signage. Partly this request relates to some signage also in place at a similar location placed by a Heathrow that appears to conflict with the ULEZ signage.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-3078-2324/GH

Thank you for your revised request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 28 November 2023 asking for information about ULEZ signage at Heathrow.

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.

As previously advised, our response to your previous request (FOI-2755-2324) said that it would exceed 18 hours to answer your request, and would therefore cost more than £450 to answer. If it took a conservative two minutes to check each email, with over 177,000 to check, it would take us almost 6,000 hours to go through all of these. Clearly this would not be possible for us to reasonably complete.

We have now carried out a further email search, based on your revised keywords -  ULEZ” AND “Signage” AND “Heathrow” And (T5 Roundabout’ or Wayfarer road’ or ‘weight way’ or Wallis road’ or ‘street lighting’ or ‘Terminal 5’). Unfortunately however, to provide the information you have requested would still 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’.

The email search using your suggested keywords, between 1/11/22 – 1/1/23, produced over 45,000 hits. As previously explained, each ‘hit’ is a single email, although that email will often consist of a chain of emails containing the search term at least once. Each of these emails would need to be manually reviewed to see if they were in fact relevant to your request and then extract and compile those that are relevant. If it took a conservative two minutes to check each email, with over 45,000 to check, it would take us 1,500 hours to go through all of these.

For such a large number of results, this process would exceed the cost limit explained above. To help bring the cost of responding to your requests within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider refining your request to be more specific about the information which is of interest to you. If you have specific questions relating to this topic we may be more easily able to respond to these than to a request for any communication held, either internally or with Heathrow Airport Limited, as this will likely incorporate a significant amount of information that is not of interest.

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 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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