Publication - FOI/EIR release

Possible species reintroductions to Scotland: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
13 Sep 2018
Possible species reintroductions to Scotland: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02094
Date received: 7 August 2018
Date responded: 4 September 2018
 
Information requested

All information held by the Scottish Government or SNH relating to all possible species reintroductions to Scotland, covering the period since April 2016, excluding information specifically about beavers. 

Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in the format you have asked for:

Some of the information which you have requested is available on the Scottish Parliament’s website. A copy of PQ S5W-11118 can be found at:

http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5W-11118&ResultsPerPage=10

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.  If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(4)(e) internal communications applies to that information. The reasons why the exception applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

Regulation 10(4)(e) – internal communications

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 an exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication about briefings and press lines/lines to take: - regarding the Licence application which Natural England received from the Lynx UK Trust to release 6 animals on a 5 year trial basis into Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. 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 allowing a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to Ministers in briefings and press lines/lines to take.  It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly provide sound information to Parliament (to which they are accountable), and robustly defend the Government’s policies and decisions. They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so. Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest.

Regulation 2(2)

In this instance, some of the information you have requested is not held by the Scottish Government for the purposes of the EIRs because we received it in confidence from the UK Government (Licence application from the Lynx UK Trust to release 6 animals on a 5 year trial basis into Kielder Forest in Northumberland). This means that, under the terms of regulation 2(2) of the EIRs,  we are unable to disclose it in response to your request. However, you may wish to submit a new request under the UK Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs at the following address: DEFRA, Wildlife Team, Natural Environment Policy, Horizon House, Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AH, who should be able to help you further.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

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