FOI request detail

Subsidence Damage

Request ID: FOI-3816-2324
Date published: 19 February 2024

You asked

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 1 June 2008 and 1 June 2018 or where to locate said policies if readily accessible in electronic format; 2. A copy of your tree maintenance works carried out to the implicated Ash group (TG1) and Elm trees (T2 and T3) under your ownership and control, located to the right-hand side of the above Property as detailed on the attached site plan, between 1 June 2008 and 1 June 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 the Ash group and Elm trees, between 1 June 2008 and 1 June 2018, 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 Bittacy Hill area. 5. The number of tree related subsidence claims that have been brought against you within the Page 2 of 2 "NW7 1" postcode area and Bittacy Hill between 1 June 2008 and 2018. For each claim please confirm: 5.1. Location of the tree (by house number); 5.2. Species of the implicated tree; and 5.3. The date of the claim.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-3816-2324

Thank you for your request which we received on 23 January 2024, asking for information about subsidence damage claims.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. You specifically asked:

1. Copies of your tree policies within the period 1 June 2008 and 1 June 2018 or where to locate said policies if readily accessible in electronic format;
2. A copy of your tree maintenance works carried out to the implicated Ash group (TG1) and Elm trees (T2 and T3) under your ownership and control, located to the right-hand side of the above Property as detailed on the attached site plan, between 1 June 2008 and 1 June 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 the Ash group and Elm trees, between 1 June 2008 and 1 June 2018, 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 Bittacy Hill area.
5. The number of tree related subsidence claims that have been brought against you within the Page 2 of 2
"NW7 1" postcode area and Bittacy Hill between 1 June 2008 and 2018. For each claim please confirm:
5.1. Location of the tree (by house number);
5.2. Species of the implicated tree; and
5.3. The date of the claim.

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’.

Our claims handler, Gallagher Bassett, do not record claims by geographical location or tree species type, and therefore to provide information on any claims relating to these trees would not be an easy task and would require manual checks of all claims received to ascertain if they are relevant to this location which would take an excessive amount of time and resources. Gallagher Basset advised that they received 245 claims during the required period range. We would therefore need to retrieve and manually review each one to answer your request. We estimate that it would take at least 5 minutes a claim, which would total 20 hours or more, which is just for the claims alone. To further locate and provide the relevant policies, risk analysis and maintenance material would of course increase the processing time required to complete your request.

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 the alleged subsidence damage we may be more easily able to respond to these than to a request for information about specific claims.

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

Yours sincerely

Eva Hextall
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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