Environmental Impact Assessment done on Refugee Cruise Ships: FOI review

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  • Was an environmental impact assessment was done on the level of emissions from housing refugees on the two cruise ships in Glasgow & Edinburgh - compared to housing them in a more environmentally friendly way? With the Scottish Government's stance on the environment I would like to know if any assessment was done prior to or since the boats docked here. If no assessment was done, is there a plan to do one, as almost every planning application requires some form of environmental impact report.
  • What was the cost to date and how long are the ships contracted to the Scottish government for?


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government is unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption applies under sections of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act. These exemptions are explained below.

I can confirm that the MS Ambition and the MS Victoria are contracted to the Scottish Government until 31 March 2023 and 13 June 2023 respectively.

However, in respect of the cost of each vessel, I can confirm an exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to this information. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Corporate Travel Management (CTM). Disclosing this information would be likely to give CTM’s competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice CTM’s ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money.

However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for, or enter into, Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

In respect of your request for information about whether or not an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out for the vessels, I can advise that no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out at either Victoria I or Ambition. However, both King George V and Port of Leith docks themselves are subject to an EIA as part of their purpose as an operational port, therefore the vessels themselves (which do not require planning permission to be berthed in port) do not require this. This is therefore a formal notice under Section 17 of FOISA that the information you have requested is not held.

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.


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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