- 1 Feb 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/00124
Date received: 4 January 2018
Date responded: 17 January 2018
You asked for information about Planning decisions taking by Ministers and what specific training the Minister has had.
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.
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. However, in her email of 4 January my colleague, Lyndsey Murray, provided you with a link to all Planning Decisions since 2012. This is found at: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/planning-decisions-index/
In answer to your question about training, the Minister for Local Government and Housing had undertaken formal training on the Planning system in Scotland in a previous capacity as a Councillor. In addition, on assuming his current Ministerial role, he received comprehensive briefing and advice from officials about his responsibilities and role. This included briefing about Ministerial responsibilities and delegation of authority for Planning Decisions, Scotland's National Planning Framework & Scottish Planning Policy, Development Plans and the Independent Review of Scotland's Planning System. In addition, the Minister receives ongoing support through regular meetings with the Chief Planner and other officials and also receives regular briefing and professional advice on all aspects of his role.
On 4 January after receiving the original response you indicated that this did not answer your enquiry so you asked for an analysis of the data you created. This is detailed in the format you requested below:
|Date||Total Decided||Cleared back to PA (working varies)||Refused||Granted||Withdrawn|
|Under consideration - Jan 2018||12-18**||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
*includes 8 wind turbine refusals in Western Isles
**12-18 at Planning Decisions Index
*5 are live cases and still to be categorised.
You asked for information about Scottish Government achieving performance targets. Performance against headline indicators since 2012-13 is publicly available at Planning Performance Framework Annual Report 2016-17 (pages 17&18).
Finally, you may be interested to know that the Scottish Government has offered elected member training grants to each of the 34 Planning authorities. Grants were provided to 27 authorities to assist them in providing training to elected members involved in planning.
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