Publication - FOI/EIR release

Giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo: FOI release

Published: 23 Apr 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
23 Apr 2018
Giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00940
Date received: 21 March 2018
Date responded: 19 April 2018

Information requested

1. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for this information for dates starting 22/11/17 up until today's date (21/03/17) or more recent.

2. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the koala bears at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for this information for dates starting 22/11/17 up until today's date (21/03/18) or more recent.

Response

1. Between 22 November 2017 and 21 March 2018, the pandas were mentioned in three written exchanges between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). Copies of these email exchanges are attached at Annexes A-C. The content of the Annexes is as follows:

Annex A - Letter from Jeremy Peat, Chair of the Board of the RZSS, to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, dated 7 February 2018.

Annex B - Response to Jeremy Peat from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, dated 14 March 2018.

Annex C - Email exchange between Scottish Government officials and Barbara Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of the RZSS, dated 12-13 March 2018.

I have also attached, for your interest, at Annex D, a recent letter from the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, to the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, which mentions the pandas.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA and 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) apply to some of that information.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested because its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation.

This exemption is subject to the "public interest test." Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered whether or not the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the affected party is able to maintain its ability to conduct private commercial activity.

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. We do not have the information because there are no records of correspondence or notes of meetings between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the koalas at Edinburgh Zoo between 22 November 2017 and the present date. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

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Annex.pdf

18 page PDF
569.8 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG