The size of the area of sea that will have 10% assigned to HPMAs (Highly Protected Marine Areas).
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.
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 reason why that exception applies is explained below.
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 this information was not held at the time of the request.
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 confirming the size of the area of sea that will have 10% assigned to Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
However, under our regulation 9 duty (to provide advice and assistance) of the EIRs, in order to provide you with a figure, this has now been calculated based on the information stated within the Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) Policy Framework document. The area from MLWS (Mean Low Water Springs) to the limit of the Scottish EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) is 453,099 sq km; however, it is worth noting that sea area statistics are always estimates due to variability of map projections and the coastal paradox. 10% of this area is 45,309.9 sq km.
The figure was calculated based on information in the HPMAs Policy Framework document. This HPMAs Policy Framework is currently subject to a public consultation and its content is therefore subject to change, depending on responses to that consultation.
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
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