- 14 Nov 2019
Date received: 15 Oct 2019
Date responded: 12 Nov 2019
1. Please advise and assist me with identifying and providing (in electronic form) the new aquaculture Working Arrangements document (in its final or draft form)
2. and the minutes or other notes on the 2018 workshop mentioned above, between Heads of LA planning and industry, and the QW7 workshop set up by Marine Scotland to discuss the new Working Arrangements document and EIA template
1. The new aquaculture Working Arrangements document (in its final or draft form)
An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to all of the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion and therefore an unfinished document.
You will want to know, however, that a Technical Working Group has been tasked with developing a practical framework for assessing the sea lice loading and management requirements taking account of the best available scientific understanding and the precautionary principle. The group comprises experts from the regulators - Marine Scotland, SEPA, SNH and representatives of local authorities.
The Group was established in September 2018 (working in parallel with the Salmon Interactions Working Group). It was therefore decided to pause the update of the Working Arrangements Document, in order to take account of the framework being developed by the Technical Working Group.
Once proposals for the framework are finalised, a consultation will follow which we will keep you updated on. After this, we will recommence updating the Working Arrangements Document.
As you know, we are due to meet with you and others as part of a meeting with the Coastal Communities network on 25 November 2019, and as part of that meeting we will be happy to update you on the work of the Technical Working Group and take account any views you may have on the update of the Working Arrangements Document.
2. Minutes or other notes on the 2018 workshop mentioned above, between Heads of LA planning and industry
Please see attached.
QW7 workshop set up by Marine Scotland to discuss the new Working Arrangements document and EIA template.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.
The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
The Scottish Government does not have the information
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 workshop did not take place.
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 workshop, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
An exception applies
An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs applies to all of the information you have requested.
This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. 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 publication of updated Working Arrangements guidance following the developments around the planning Framework mentioned above.
We will be happy to discuss thoughts you may have about an update to guidance on Working Arrangements when we meet with CCN later this month and will keep you updated further, when this strand of work recommences.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House