The Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations

Since June 2015, we have been subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

The legislation covers our public functions as well as our commercial activities, and applies to our subsidiary companies incorporated in the UK.

This is an opportunity for us to be even more open and accountable, as part of our wider transparency work, which began in 2012.


As Network Rail deals with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, we may need to adapt our approach to handling your request.

It is our intention to do everything we can to respond as promptly as possible and within the time limits set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004, but we know that we face difficulties which may result in a delay in our response.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has recognised the challenges which COVID-19 presents to public authorities dealing with FOI requests and we will continue to work in line with its guidance.

Access to our IT systems during business hours is being restricted to only those who have a critical need. This means that our access to a variety of systems including our archives, performance database and HR records is limited at the present time. While we will continue to do everything possible to respond to requests as promptly as we can, it may be that in some instances we will not be able to provide responses within 20 working days.

Proactive publication

We are committed to becoming a more open, honest and accessible organisation. Since 2012 we have published a wide range of information in our transparency section, which helps to explain what we do, how we do it and why.

We also provide free real-time data feeds about what's happening on our network.

Publication scheme

We already publish a wide range of information as part of our proactive publication scheme, which is regularly updated. To complement this we have adopted the Information Commissioner's model publication scheme for public authorities covered by the Act for certain information.

You can find the information we have published on our transparency pages.


Information published online is available free of charge. However, we may charge if you request multiple copies of a document or ask for information to be provided in an alternative format. We may also charge for the costs of photocopying, postage and packing.

We will tell you in advance if there is a charge, and how much it will be.

Some of our information is provided on a commercial basis by third-party providers on our behalf. Section 21 of the FOI Act means that it is permissible to continue to charge for such information, as long as we publish a list of relevant charges.

The following document lists Network Rail standards and (at paragraph 1.12) a list of relevant charges:

The following document gives a list of charges for drawings from our archives:

Previous requests

You can find some of our requests and responses on the WhatDoTheyKnow website as well as our disclosure log.

To make a request for information please write to us, detailing as clearly as possible the information you want, giving your name and an address for our response – this can be an email address. You can submit your request by post or email:

Network Rail
Freedom of Information
1st Floor Willen, Area C
The Quadrant
Elder Gate
Milton Keynes

If you need to speak to one of the team you can also telephone us on 01908 782 405.

We’ll deal with requests as quickly as possible and within the Act's statutory timescales.

We’ll deal with every request we receive in the spirit of the Act, though in some cases we won’t be able provide the information we’re asked for.

The Act provides exemptions, which we can use if we think disclosure would cause specific, genuine harm. These may include where the information:

  • would prejudice the commercial interests of any person
  • was provided to us in confidence
  • is personal information about other individuals
  • is intended for publication in the future
  • would endanger the physical or mental health or safety of an individual or group of individuals
  • would inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views.

In addition, we may refuse requests if the information is reasonably accessible by other means or where the cost of locating, retrieving and extracting the information would exceed £450 – equivalent to 18 hours work calculated at a rate set by law at £25 per hour. In these cases we’ll provide advice and assistance to help you refine your request to bring it within this limit.

If there is a reason why we can't provide all the information that you have requested, we will explain the exemption in our response. And we’ll tell you how to appeal if you disagree with our decision.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled you can make a complaint or request a review of our decision.

You’ll need to contact us within a reasonable time frame, generally no more than 40 working days after you’ve received our response to your request.

Please write to:

Network Rail
Head of Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information
1st Floor Willen, Area C
The Quadrant
Elder Gate
Milton Keynes

Or email

If you need to speak to one of the team you can also phone us on 01908 782 405.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Freedom of information training is available to all our employees, and helps them understand:

  • what a request is likely to look like
  • what they need to know and do
  • the typical lifecycle of a request
  • their level of freedom of information knowledge, tested with a quiz.

A sample of our responses can be found on our disclosure log page.

Details of our Freedom of Information (FOI) performance in terms of timeliness – ie. the percentage of requests which we have responded to within the statutory time frames.

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