- 25 Feb 2020
Date received: 27 Jan 2020
Date responded: 24 Feb 2020
Under the basic payment scheme of the Common Agricultural Policy, eligible land in Scotland is divided into three payment regions.
1. I would like to know the total area claimed for each payment region in the years since the basic payment scheme was established i.e. 2015-19.
2. Farmers are required to carry out an agricultural activity to receive payment under the scheme. As an alternative, farmers with land in payment regions two and three can carry out an environmental assessment for all or part of their land. I would like to know the area which has been included in environmental assessments in each payment region each year since the scheme was established.
3. If possible I would like a breakdown of the figures in 1 and 2 by local authority area.
4. I would like to know if it is possible to supply a map showing the area included in each payment region in 2019, and if so, if it is possible to supply me with this information as a GIS shapefile, furthermore if it is possible to identify within payment regions two and three the areas on which an environmental assessment has been carried out.
5. I would like to know if it is possible to supply me with a GIS shapefile showing the boundaries of all agricultural units which kept sheep in 2019 (which included sheep on their "IACS" form or single application form), and the number of sheep kept on each of these holdings, and the forage areas on the holdings included as attributes in the shapefile.
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. With regards to your first request please note the data provided for 2015 is based on the eligible areas found as opposed to claimed as this is the information we hold, but for the years 2016 to 2019 it is the areas claimed. It is not possible to supply you with the maps in GIS shapefile format and these have been provided as PDF documents instead.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have detailed in the 5th request. 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.
Annex - 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. You have requested details of all agricultural units which kept sheep in 2019 (which included sheep on their "IACS" form or single application form), and the number of sheep kept on each of these holdings, and the forage areas on the holdings. The information recorded on the Single Application Form (SAF) indicates the livestock numbers for one specific day of the year (1 March 2019) or the intention to hold livestock in the 2019 calendar year. The number of sheep declared does not correspond to any land parcels therefore the Scottish Government does not have the level of detail you have requested. 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 information requested, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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