FOI reference: FOI/18/01349
Date received: 15 May 2018
Date responded: 7 June 2018
1. How many local planning decisions have been overturned by the Scottish Government for every year between 2007 and 2018, with a breakdown by type of development (e.g. wind farm, housing development etc)
2. How many hectares of green belt land has been built on between 2007-2018 (with a breakdown by year if possible) where a planning application was refused at local planning level and it subsequently went to the Scottish Government where it was overturned, granting it planning permission?
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.
1. I have attached a spreadsheet listing the planning permission appeals that were appealed to the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals between 2009 and 2018 and had the local authority's decision overturned by Scottish Ministers. I am afraid that I have only been able to provide you with information from 2009. This is because cases are automatically archived from our system 10 years after the a decision has been issued on them. This means that some of the data that we need to use to answer your query is removed and we cannot go as far back as 2007. Therefore I have decided to provide the information available from the first full year that the information is still available, i.e. 2009.
2. Whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information in respect of Point 2 of your request because an exception under regulation 10 (4)(b) (Request is manifestly unreasonable) applies to that information.
To explain, we have identified 6, 967 individual appeals that were decided after 1 January 2009. The only way that we could identify how hectares of green belt land had been built on between 2009-2018, where a planning application was refused at local level and subsequently overturned by Scottish Ministers, would be to look at each individual appeal and investigate the documentation. Given the volume of the information identified that potentially falls within the terms of your request we have concluded that the cost and time involved in locating, extracting, collating and reviewing of all the information would place too great a burden on the DPEA.
We do not believe it would be possible to provide all relevant information without a significant and unreasonable diversion of resources
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
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