- 22 Sep 2017
FOI reference: FOI/17/01949
Date received: 24 August 2017
Date responded: 21 September 2017
You asked for 'the paperwork / scrutiny which shows how the plan (Clydeplan) was assessed by the Scottish Government prior to modifications and approval being given'.
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 most of the information you have requested. Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government Strategic Environmental Assessment Database, at the following web address: SG Environment Assessment
How to access the relevant information is outlined in the schedule attached. 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.
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(s) 10(4)(e) (internal communications) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception(s) applies are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exception applies.
An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs applies to some the information you have requested because it is internal communication between Scottish Government Ministers and officials regarding the approval of Clydeplan.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. This candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on approving Clydeplan will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on the matter while it is still under discussion and development.
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 Andrew's House