Freedom of information
The Highways Agency, like all other government departments is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOI Act”). The Department for Transport is comprised of a central policy organisation and seven executive agencies. We are part of DfT and under the FOI Act and other purposes have no separate legal identity and are not a public authority in our own right.
This section aims to satisfy the requirements of the Ministry of Justice’s Code of Practice.
As roads affect the environment, you may find we handle your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. This is because you may request information which is defined as “environmental information”.
If your request is for personal information about yourself, we will treat your request as a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Anyone can make a request for information. You do not need to be a UK citizen or living in the UK in order to make one. You may request any information held by or on the behalf of the Agency, regardless of how it is held. We hold a wide variety of information such as maps, plans, photographs, written information and information held on computer.
When you make a request, we have to inform you if we hold the information (known as the duty to confirm or deny) and to have that information communicated to you, subject to exemptions.
A request is for information, so you may not always receive the full document, just the information contained within it. When it is more convenient, we may send you the entire document rather than extracting the information you requested.
The easiest way of making an FOI request to the Highways Agency is by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All requests need to contain the following:
- Your name and address — if applying by e-mail, just your e-mail address is sufficient
- A clear statement of what information you are requesting
- Means of contact should we need to discuss your request - e.g. telephone number
- The form in which you want the information e.g. electronic, large print, Braille.
If you wish to submit an application by post we have created an application form (60KB PDF), which we recommend for postal applicants.
Or write to us at:
Freedom of Information
Quinton Business Park
Birmingham B32 1AF
Under the Act, we are obliged to help you make a request. Not only does this help you, but it helps us as well to find the information quickly. We do not need to know why you want the information.
If you would like to speak to someone about how to word your request, contact HAIL, our information line.
Tel: 0300 123 5000
Most requests are handled free of charge. We may charge for printing, photocopying, special formats and postage if this exceeds £35.
We charge a rate of 10p per sheet for photocopying/printing.
Where we already publish information , you will have to pay the cost quoted for the publication.
We will send you a fees notice asking for payment if required, and you have 3 months to pay the fee before we supply the information. If you do not wish to pay the fee, you may ask to view the information at one of our offices.
If a request is handled under Freedom of Information, there is a £600 cost limit on time spent finding, sorting, and editing the information. This is calculated at £25 per hour. When a request exceeds £600, we will contact you and work with you to narrow your request so we can provide you with some, if not all, the information you originally requested. Where we can not narrow the request, we will refuse the request as too costly.
The Department for Transport publication scheme details categories of information that we publish or intend to publish. If your request is for information we publish, we are not obliged to provide it to you. You will have to pay any fee charged for the publication if there is one, or you may be able to access it from your local public library. Details of all publications issued by DfT under its Publication Scheme since 2002 can be accessed using the Publications Search at the Communities and Local Government website .
If you request information about a person/company other than yourself, we are obliged to consult with them before responding. Section IV of the code of practice explains this in detail.
I’d like it in a special format
Some people have special requirements and so need the information to be supplied in Braille, large print, audio format or translated into another language. We can do this for you, but remember that it may take the cost over the £600 threshold.
Sending you the response
Responses have to be sent out within 20 working days of receiving your request. Sometimes we may respond later than this, but we will inform you first as we can only exceed this under certain conditions. If we have asked you to clarify your request; have had to apply a public interest test to exempt information or have issued a fees notice, we may respond later than the 20 working days.
Sometimes, we may withhold information if the FOI Act tells us to do so, or if it is in the public interest to do so. We may refuse to supply all or just some information. We can only do this when an exemption applies. We will explain which exemption applies, and where we have conducted a public interest test, we will send you our reasoning for and against release to help you understand why we feel the exemption applied. Sometimes, we may not even be able to confirm or deny that we hold the information.
We may also refuse requests on the grounds that is too costly to answer or that you have asked us the question before and we have no new information to give you. This is called a repeated request and may be refused.
Requests may also be refused as vexatious. This is explained in the Ministry of Justice’s procedural guidance .
Everyone has a right to complain and we have a complaints process to handle your complaint. We will respond to any complaint within 20 working days of hearing from you.