“I am trying to find out how much has been paid to nearby communities by way of community benefit payments from onshore wind farms for each of the last five years (2018-2022) and to date in 2023? For each year can it be stated how many megawatts of power was being produced to produce that benefit as well as the number of wind farms.
If this could be split by wind farm project, so it is clear what each project has contributed too. I am also trying to find the same for 2010-2012.
Also can I ask the same as above for all the currently active offshore wind farm projects.
Also can I find out what the commitment is to community benefit payments for each of the ScotWind projects. In other words, what commitment is there to community benefit payments for each of the schemes, going forward.”
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.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
In response to your request regarding the amount of community benefits paid to nearby communities from onshore and offshore wind farms, and the megawatts of power generated to produce that benefit from 2010-2012 and 2018-2023, the Scottish Government does not hold this data. However, under our duty to provide advice and assistance (regulation 9 of the EIRs), we would like to signpost you to where you can find some of the information you have requested.
Local Energy Scotland administers a voluntary register of community benefit commitments from operational renewable energy projects, which can be accessed here:
Please note that the register relies on developers and communities voluntarily submitting data, so will not be exhaustive or provide a full picture of community benefit payments across Scotland. For example, where there are gaps in the data, this does not necessarily mean there were no community benefit payments – it could be that no data, or incomplete data, was submitted.
The quality and accuracy of the information on the register relies on the information volunteered by the community or renewable energy business submitting it. The register may, therefore, hold inaccurate or outdated information and should be regarded as a guide to community benefit provisions across Scotland.
ScotWind community benefit commitments
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested. 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 hold information on the community benefit commitments made by each of the ScotWind projects.
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 this information, we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
Under our duty to provide advice and assistance (regulation 9 of the EIRs), we would like to signpost you to where you can find some of the information you have requested. This is available from Crown Estate Scotland’s (CES) website using the following web links:
However, you may wish to contact CES directly who also may be able to help you. In order to make a Freedom of Information request to CES please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0131 260 6070, or write to: Crown Estate Scotland, Quartermile Two, 2nd Floor, 2 Lister Square, Edinburgh, EH3 9GL.
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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