The information was somewhat embarrassing, not just for Boris but also for senior Transport for London figures named in internal documents, such as Ben Plowden and Daniel Moylan.
I have now received an email informing me that TfL will not be providing me with any of the information on the various outstanding requests that I currently have.
This is surprising, as I have successfully received regular FOI responses from TfL since I started this blog.
Are they allowed to do this?
TfL’s legal team are now claiming that they are not obliged to provide me with any information if costs more than £450 in total to respond to the requests that I have submitted.
This is not actually what the legislation says. Costs of individual requests may only be aggregated if,
the two or more requests relate, to any extent, to the same or similar information.
What requests are they refusing?
The claim that my outstanding requests relate to the same or similar information seems far-fetched. I am currently waiting to hear back about a number of different things, including:
- Transport for London’s usage of “grey fleet” and “support fleet” cars in London’s streets.
- Pedestrian Countdown Equality Impact Assessments
- A ‘Pedal Confusion Study’ commissioned by London Buses
- Information on a project entitled ‘21st century traffic signals’
- Details of the disbanding of TfL’s Cycling Centre of Excellence
- The Vauxhall, Nine Elms & Battersea Planning Framework
These are “similar”, I suppose, to the extent that they all refer to TfL’s operations. But essentially any FOI requests made to TfL, or any public body, will have to refer to the activities that they carry out – this can’t be the test of whether information requested is similar.
I have emailed TfL asking them how they have arrived at the conclusion that the above requests constitute “the same or similar” information and will publish their response.
I don’t know why TfL have suddenly decided, a week after I exposed through FOI that claims made by Boris Johnson were not accurate, that they are not going to respond to my outstanding requests.
At the end of the day, the reasons do not really matter. This is about democratic accountability. As the Information Commissioner’s Office informs us, the public have the right to request any information held by public authorities.
That Transport for London is refusing to reveal information about the above topics, on frankly the most spurious of pretexts, leaves me wondering just one thing:
What is Transport for London trying to hide?