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Department for eight security

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For several years, HS2 Ltd have stated that their high speed line “will directly connect 8 of 10 of Britain’s largest cities”.

This phrase has also found favour with various politicians, including the transport secretary, Chris Grayling.

But what are these cities?

And what does “directly connect”, mean?

Straightforward questions to answer, one might imagine.

Or actually, rather not straightforward to answer, according to the Department for Transport.

[FoI response of 2 April 2019 from Department for Transport to J Marriott]

Dear J Marriott

Freedom of Information Act Request – F0017137- Extension of deadline

Thank you for your request for information which we received on 18 February 2019. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You asked for the following information:-

‘A statement frequently made by the Secretary of State, and included in many documents, states that HS2 will connect 8 out of 10 major cities.

What are the 10 cities?

What are the two that are not connected by HS2?

Please explain how each of the 8 cities is connected to the other 7 by HS2 and give the predicted journey times in each case on completion of Phase 2. It would be helpful if this was presented as an 8 by 8 Origin-Destination grid with an empty diagonal.

How many of the 10 cities are currently connected to each other by train? It would be helpful to present this as an O-D grid.’

You emailed the Department on the 20th & 28th March chasing for a response. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

The FOI Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly, in any case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However, when a qualified exemption applies to the information, the public interest test needs to be considered. We are not required to comply with your request until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances. We do, of course, aim to make all decisions within 20 working days, including in cases where we need to consider where the public interest lies in respect of a request for exempt information.

Your request, however, raises complex public interest considerations which must be analysed before we can come to a decision on releasing the information.

The exemption that applies to the information you have requested is: ‘information intended for future publication’ – Section 22(1) of the FOI Act.

In your case we needed to extend our response time limit by 20 working days in order to assess whether the public interest is in withholding the information or disclosing it. Therefore, we plan to let you have a response by 15 April 2019. If we can respond sooner we will of course do so.

Unfortunately, although I extended the deadline on our FOI tracking system I failed to send you a confirmation by e-mail that this had been done. I can only apologise for this oversight. Our system does not automatically send notice that the deadline has been extended and I should have double checked that I had in fact notified you.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way the Department has handled your request or with the decisions made in relation to your request you may complain within two calendar months of the date of this letter by writing to the Department’s FOI Advice Team at:

Zone D/04
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
East Sussex TN37 7GA

Please send or copy any follow-up correspondence relating to this request to the FOI Advice Team to help ensure that it receives prompt attention. Please also remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Please see attached details of DfT’s complaints procedure and your right to complain to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Curson
High Speed and Major Rail Projects Group

Your right to complain to DfT and the Information Commissioner

You have the right to complain within two calendar months of the date of this letter about the way in which your request for information was handled and/or about the decision not to disclose all or part of the information requested. In addition a complaint can be made that DfT has not complied with its FOI publication scheme.

Your complaint will be acknowledged and you will be advised of a target date by which to expect a response. Initially your complaint will be re-considered by the official who dealt with your request for information. If, after careful consideration, that official decides that his/her decision was correct, your complaint will automatically be referred to a senior independent official who will conduct a further review. You will be advised of the outcome of your complaint and if a decision is taken to disclose information originally withheld this will be done as soon as possible.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


Written by beleben

April 10, 2019 at 11:17 am

Posted in HS2

One Response

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  1. At least he’s got a reply. I put in a quite similar request that pre-dates it

    Joe Rukin (@joerukin)

    April 10, 2019 at 11:50 am

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