Publication - FOI/EIR release

Options, correspondence, Ministerial minutes, emails on Usan junction: EIR release

Published: 21 Jun 2018

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

Published:
21 Jun 2018
Options, correspondence, Ministerial minutes, emails on Usan junction: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01202
Date received: 19 April 2018
Date responded: 20 June 2018

Information requested

A list of the options currently under consideration for dealing with the stretch of single track at Usan junction, any written correspondence and emails regarding track improvements between Aberdeen and the Central Belt and minutes from Ministerial meetings regarding track improvements between Aberdeen and the Central Belt, and when these meetings took place. The period considered was 01 January 2016 to 27 April 2018.

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.

Response

We do endeavour to provide information whenever possible. The table below lists the information held by Transport Scotland for the period you specify, and these documents are attached.

Item Date From Document Title
1 Agreed 2017 Reference Group Aberdeen to Central Belt
– Reference Group –
Terms of Reference
------- --------------- --------------------- ----------------------------
2 17/08/17 Transport Scotland Annex E of Ministerial
Engagement Briefing to
Minister for Transport
and the Islands
------- --------------- --------------------- ----------------------------
3 04/10/17 Transport Scotland Email, MSP Enquiry
Aberdeen to Central Belt
------- --------------- --------------------- ----------------------------
4 10/11/17 Transport Scotland Email, Aberdeen to Central
Belt Reference Group
------- --------------- --------------------- ----------------------------
5 12/12/17 Transport Scotland Ministerial Update, Aberdeen
to Central Belt reference
Group

Some of the information you have requested is available, details of where that specific information can be obtained, can be accessed via the following links:

Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee publishes the updates provided by Transport Scotland which contain details of Aberdeen to Central Belt track improvements. https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?Act=later&CId=546&D=201703170930&MD=ielistmeetings

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Scottish Government, UK Government, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and One can be found via the following link: https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/documents/s64244/FPR MOU Final Report - v2.pdf

The following references relate to parliamentary questions, S5W-05985, S5W-00947, S5W-00948, S5W-00950, S5W-00951 S5W-00952, S5W-12393, S5W-12394, S5W-15005, S5W-09685, S5W-01179, S5O-01005 which can be viewed via the parliamentary business link below: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

In addition, to assist with your enquiry, the web references to official news releases are provided: https://news.gov.scot/news/254-million-boost-to-aberdeen https://news.gov.scot/news/north-east-gets-new-dedicated-team-to-address-rail-issues

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(s) under regulation(s) reg 10(4)(e) (internal communications of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception(s) applies are explained below.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (Unfinished or Incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion.

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. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between officials whilst we are still developing an agreed policy position.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (Internal Communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to internal exchanges and release could compromise our collective ability to reach an agreed policy position.

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. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between officials whilst we are still developing an agreed policy position.

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

FOI_EIR_18_01202 Attachment.pdf

9 page PDF
873.0 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG