Publication - FOI/EIR release

Planning appeal PPA-380-2078: EIR release

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

Published:
20 Dec 2018
Planning appeal PPA-380-2078: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/18/03451  
Date received: 16 November 2018  
Date responded: 19 December 2018
 
Information requested
 
  • Copies of all correspondence regarding planning appeal PPA-380-2078 between the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning and his officials, the DPEA and the Chief Planner and his team, including any communications with Special Advisers.
  • A list of any meetings regarding planning appeal PPA-380-2078 attended by any of the following: the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning and his officials, DPEA officials, the Chief Planner and Special Advisers.  Please provide me with the dates of these meetings, a copy of who was in attendance and any notes or minutes of what was discussed.
     
Response

 

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations.  We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. 

This exemption 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 exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes.  This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Further to your request and following a search of our records, I have found that:

  • Some documentation that falls within the remit of your request has been attached separately.
  • No meetings have taken place regarding planning appeal PPA-380-2078 between the parties you have indicated.

Regarding the first part of your request, some of the information that falls within the remit of your request has been withheld.  Regulation 10(4)(e) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 states that a public authority may refuse to make available environmental information to the extent that the request involves making available internal communications.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’ as detailed in regulation 10(1)(b) of the regulations.  Regulation 10(1)(b) states that a public authority may refuse to make environmental information available if in all the circumstances, the public interest in making the information available is outweighed by that in maintaining the exception.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption as disclosure of the process of interdepartmental consideration will undermine the collective responsibility of Scottish Ministers and affect their decision making process in these matters.  Ministers and their officials require a secure environment in which to develop their thinking and in order that they can have a full and frank discussion on matters.  For the above reasons I have concluded that the public interest in disclosure does not outweigh Scottish Ministers interest in not disclosing this information.

With regard to the second part of your request, under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have.  The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because no meetings took place, and therefore the documents/information you have requested do not exist.

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.  While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the subject of your request, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

 

About FOI

 
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foi-18-03451 Information requested

9 page PDF
502.5 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