The correspondence received regarding the AECS scheme, specifically regarding bracken control since 1 January 2023.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), Scottish Government 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 a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
We enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in PDF format. Some of the information you have requested is available from Rural Payments and Services, the Scottish Parliament: Chambers and Committees: Question and Answers; PQ S6W-14577 and PQ S6W-15068, and the Bracken Control Group: Asulox Records and Briefings. 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. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
As you may be aware, NatureScot is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) who provides policy and advice whilst also acting as delivery partners for AECS. You may wish to contact; NatureScot at firstname.lastname@example.org who may be able to help you with your request further.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because the correspondence provided contains the 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.
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 under regulation 10(4)(d) (material in the course of completion) of the EIRs applies to that information. Attached to some emails, that were within scope of your ask, were documents that Reg 10(4)(d) have been applied to. This is due to the attachments being in an unfinished stage of development. As the exception is conditional, we have applied the 'public interest test'. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, considered if the public interest in disclosing 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.
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.
- File type
- 19 page PDF
- File size
- 1.1 MB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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