- 29 May 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01407
Date received: 16 May 2018
Date responded: 22 May 2018
- The name and employment status – Self-Employed or Salaried – of the Reporter(s) responsible for adjudicating on the Arecleoch, Kilgallioch and Mark Hill wind farms.
- The name and employment status – Self-Employed or Salaried – of the Reporter(s) who adjudicated on the various phases of the Whitlees wind farm and extensions.
It may assist you if I explain that wind farm applications over 50Mw capacity are normally only referred to DPEA to hold a public inquiry where the planning authority maintains an objection to the application, otherwise they are determined by Scottish Ministers directly and administrated by the Energy Consents Unit. Where the case is referred to DPEA to hold a public inquiry, the reporters make recommendations and the final decision lies with Scottish Ministers.
The three wind farms you have referred to in section 1 of your request were never before DPEA to hold a public inquiry.
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because the cases you have specified were not adjudicated by a Reporter.
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. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the reporters who adjudicate on specific planning applications and appeals, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
Turning to part two of your request, I have searched for Whitlees wind farm and extensions and have not found any record of this. I have, however, found records of Whitelee wind farm, which has had various extensions, and I have assumed for the purposes of your request that this is the wind farm you are referring to.
PPA-190-2012 – One of our self-employed reporters, Ronald Jackson (since retired from DPEA) determined an appeal for an extension to Whitelee wind farm comprising the erection of 7 wind turbines and associated works. This was an application that was under 50Mw in capacity, so was considered solely by the planning authority who refused the application. The appellant then exercised their right of appeal against this refusal to the DPEA. The appeal was dismissed on 28 April 2011.
WIN-190-1 – in 2015/2016, two of our reporters reported on a wind farm application for the construction and operation of the Phase 3 extension to Whitelee wind farm. One was a self-employed reporter, named Frances McChlery and the other was a salaried reporter named Dannie Onn. This was an application that was over 50Mw in capacity and to which the planning authority had maintained their objection. The reporters recommended that this application be refused, and Scottish Ministers agreed with this and refused the application on 19 October 2016.
No other extensions or applications related to this wind farm have been before DPEA.
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