Publication - FOI/EIR release

A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Scheme: EIR release

Published: 3 Sep 2019

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

Published:
3 Sep 2019
A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Scheme: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01720
Date received: 31 Jul 2019
Date responded: 29 Aug 2019
Information requested
  1. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to the specific comparison of environmental constraints and impacts of online dualling of the A96 through Inverurie (not as part of a corridor assessment eg B Inner) with other route options around Inverurie as identified in relation to the A96 dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme.
  2. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to the environmental sensitivities and potential environmental impacts of the orange and violet routes of the A96 dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme.
  3. In relation to any and all engagements with regard to this scheme with the statutory authorities listed in C1 above in relation to the orange and violet routes mentioned above.
  4. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to road traffic noise assessment on the orange and violet routes of the A96 dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Scheme.
  5. Including the proposed siting, duration of siting and make of equipment to be used for the monitoring of noise and the type of surfacing material to be use on the proposed road, its specifications and noise reduction validation data.
  6. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in which the criteria for ‘ potentially significant adverse visual changes to views from residential properties’ are defined.
  7. The mitigation measures used and their success in eliminating the adverse visual impact of a large scale road such as the proposed A96 Huntly to Aberdeen Scheme, and with particular reference to the Violet and Orange routes.
  8. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in which the criteria for ‘ sense of place’ is defined, and how it is assessed in the landscape appraisal including validated peer reviewed methods of assessment.
  9. Please could you supply me with all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in relation the methods used to calculate CO2 emissions and including the peer reviewed references on which the methods are based.

As all of 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.

Response
  1. The detailed appraisal undertaken to identify the better performing route options is recorded in the Corridor Options Workshop Report and First Fix Alignment Workshop Report. The appraisal included the environmental constraints and impacts of an online option following the existing A96 through Inverurie.

    Copies of these reports are available on the Transport Scotland project webpage using the following link:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/dmrb-stage-2-early-sifting-reports-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/

    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.
     
  2. At this juncture of the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 route options assessment, the environmental assessment of the orange and violet routes is ongoing, therefore with regard to your request for all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to the environmental sensitivities and potential environmental impacts of the orange and violet routes of the A96 dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. The environmental assessment of each of the options under consideration on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme is currently being developed to inform the preferred route option decision expected to be announced and reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year.

    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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.

    Further explanation
    DMRB Stage 2 Pairing Assessments considered environmental sensitivities and potential environmental impact as part of the environmental appraisal. The Violet Route was assessed as part of the Green/Violet Pairing Assessment with details of the assessment contained in the Green/Violet Pairing Assessment Report which is available to view on the Transport Scotland project webpage using the following link:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/dmrb-stage-2-pairing-assessments-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/

    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.

    I can confirm that the Orange Route was not assessed as part of the pairing assessments.
     
  3. 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(s) under regulation(s) 11(2) of the EIRs applies to that information.

    An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception 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 exception. This exception has been applied to Annexes A, B and C attached below.

    Please refer to Annex A (Email Correspondence), Annex B (Meeting Notes) and Annex C (presentation to Environmental Steering Group) for extracts of engagements with regard to this scheme with the statutory authorities specifically in relation to the orange and violet routes. 
     
  4. At this juncture of the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 route options assessment, the environmental assessment of the orange and violet routes is ongoing, therefore with regards to your request for all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to road traffic noise assessment on the orange and violet routes of the A96 dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Scheme an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. The environmental assessment of each of the options under consideration on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme is currently being developed to inform the preferred route option decision expected to be announced and reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year.

    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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.

    Further explanation
    DMRB Stage 2 Pairing Assessments considered noise as part of the environmental appraisal. The Violet Route was assessed as part of the Green/Violet Pairing Assessment with details of the assessment contained in the Green/Violet Pairing Assessment Report which is available to view on the Transport Scotland project webpage using the following link:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/dmrb-stage-2-pairing-assessments-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/

    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. 

    I can confirm that the Orange Route was not assessed as part of the pairing assessments.

    The current DMRB Stage 2 work is an optioneering exercise that compares various route alignments and the predicted resultant traffic noise modelled change of each.
     
  5. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in this part of your request. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

    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 the information you have requested will be considered as part of the design development of the preferred option during the DMRB Stage 3 process.

    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 the requested information, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
     
  6. At this juncture of the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 route options assessment, the environmental assessment of the orange and violet routes is ongoing, therefore with regards to your request for all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in which the criteria for ‘potentially significant adverse visual changes to views from residential properties’ are defined an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. The environmental assessment of each of the options under consideration on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme is currently being developed to inform the preferred route option decision expected to be announced and reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year.

    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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.

    Further explanation
    The ‘potentially significant adverse visual changes’ being considered during DMRB Stage 2 are defined by a combination of ‘Industry Practice’ based on good practice guidance and the professional judgement from an experienced landscape practitioner. Guidance is provided in the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3, April 2013) is available from the following link:

    https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/technical/glvia3-panel/

    The DMRB Stage 2 Pairing Assessments considered Landscape and Visual as part of the environmental appraisal. The pairing assessment reports are available to view on the Transport Scotland project webpage at:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/dmrb-stage-2-pairing-assessments-east-of-huntly-to-aberdeen-a96-dualling/

    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.
     
  7. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in this part of your request. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

    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 the information will be considered further as part of the design development of the preferred option during the DMRB Stage 3 process.

    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 the requested information, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
     
  8. At this juncture of the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 route options assessment, the environmental assessment of the orange and violet routes is ongoing, therefore with regards to your request for all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in which the criteria for ‘ sense of place’ is defined, and how it is assessed in the landscape appraisal including validated peer reviewed methods of assessment an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. The environmental assessment of each of the options under consideration on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme is currently being developed to inform the preferred route option decision expected to be announced and reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year.

    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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.

    Further explanation
    The criteria used for sense of place is based on DMRB Volume 11, Section 3, Part 5 Landscape Effects: http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/dmrb/vol11/section3/11s3p05.pdf which states that an analysis should be made of those components of the landscape that are important in determining its regional and local character and which provide a sense of place as one passes through it. In addition, sense of place is also referred to in Transport Scotland’s policy advice which is published in ‘Fitting Landscapes – Securing More Sustainable Landscapes’:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/33663/j279083.pdf

    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. 
     
  9. At this juncture of the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Stage 2 route options assessment, the environmental assessment of the orange and violet routes is ongoing, therefore with regards to your request for all and any information, data (including, but not limited to, the dates on which data/information were/was collected and reports written), dated correspondence etc in relation the methods used to calculate CO2 emissions and including the peer reviewed references on which the methods are based an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. The environmental assessment of each of the options under consideration on the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme is currently being developed to inform the preferred route option decision expected to be announced and reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year.

    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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report later this year. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.  

    Further explanation
    The DMRB screening tool spreadsheet (v1.03c, 2007) will be used to estimate total greenhouse gas emissions including CO, THC, NOx, PM10 and total carbon for each of the affected road links and in combination for each option. This is consistent with the simple level of assessment prescribed in DMRB Volume 11, Section 3, Part 1 Air Quality, a copy of which is available from:

    http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/dmrb/vol11/section3/ha20707.pdf

    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.

Annex A

13 page PDF
690.3 kB

Annex B

19 page PDF
280.8 kB

Annex C

16 page PDF
4.8 MB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG