Scottish Government and National Grid ESO around ScotWind: EIR review

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.


Information requested

All correspondence between the Scottish Government (including Ministers, Civil Servants, and Special Advisers) and representatives of National Grid ESO, which mentions “ScotWind”, from 1st January 2021 - date.

I have been asked to consider your request afresh as I was not involved with the handling of your initial request. I have concluded that a different decision should be substituted.

In your review request you noted that you had:

‘…asked for correspondence with a specific organisation (National Grid ESO) on a specific topic (ScotWind) over a relatively short period of time. If the Scottish Government’s corporate records management system cannot retrieve this information with relative ease, it is not fit for purpose.’

I have reconsidered the application of regulation 10(4)(b)(Manifestly unreasonable) of the EIRs with the Public Interest test arguments and do not believe that this exception applies. I have concluded that the search could have been narrowed down more effectively to enable it to be completed without such a burden on the public authority (in terms of the costs and resources involved in dealing with your request) that the request would be ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

A further search for correspondence was conducted on this basis.

Information considered as being within the scope of your original request has been limited to correspondence between the Scottish Government (including Ministers, Civil Servants, and Special Advisers) and representatives of National Grid ESO including the keyword “ScotWind”.

Response

For this reason, I have enclosed a copy of most of the information you requested. Please note that unfortunately due to file sizes some will follow by email separately.

In several cases, information you requested has been provided to you in full.

This includes two letters sent from then Cabinet Secretary Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson to Fintan Slye, National Grid ESO Director.

The first of these letters is a response from the Cabinet Secretary to an earlier letter sent from Mr Slye on 16 December 2021 with the subject ‘Offshore Transmission Network Review – Holistic Network Design’. This has also been provided in full.

The second letter from the Cabinet Secretary, entitled ‘Outcome of the ScotWind Leasing Round’, is also included in full but please note that the text in the letter contains an incorrect date reference and should be 2022.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance redactions have been made from some of the information you have requested because exceptions under regulations 11(2) (personal information); 10(4)(a) (information not held); 10(5)(e) (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information); and/or 10(5)(f) (prejudice to interests of person who provided the information) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why these exceptions apply are explained in Annex A of this letter.

Some of the correspondence you have requested is already held in the public domain and is available here, and here. 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 listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

About FOI

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.

EIR - 202300361990 - Annex A
EIR - 202300361990 - Information release
EIR - 202300361990 - Correspondence

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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