To ask Her Majesty's Government why they rejected a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the report by PwC on the comparative costs of developing and constructing high speed rail lines in Europe and elsewhere; and why it took two months for that decision to be reached.
The information requested is being withheld under section 22 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 because it is intended for future publication. In applying this exemption we have had to balance the public interest in withholding or disclosing the report. The Department for Transport found the balance to be in favour of withholding at this time.
The request raised complex public interest considerations. As allowable under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the department extended the response time limit by 20 working days in order to assess whether the public interest was in withholding or disclosing the information. The Noble Lord was informed of this extension on 21st December 2017.