Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence with Royal Zoological Society of Scotland: giant pandas at Edinburgh:FOI release

Published: 26 Sep 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
26 Sep 2018
Correspondence with Royal Zoological Society of Scotland: giant pandas at Edinburgh:FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02023
Date received: 30 July 2018  
Date responded: 28 August 2018
 
Information requested

1. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for this information for dates starting 01/01/18 up until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

2. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. I am looking for this information for dates starting 01/01/18 up until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

3. Details of any payments including grants given to/paid to Edinburgh Zoo and the RZSS (including Highland Wildlife Park) from 1 January 2018 until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

Response
 
1. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. I am looking for this information for dates starting 01/01/18 up until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

Some of the information you have requested is available from https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-18-00940/. Specifically, this covers all correspondence and information between the Scottish Government and the RZSS between 01/01/18 and 30/03/18. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.  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.

Between 21 March 2018 and 30 July 2018, the pandas were mentioned in one written exchange between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).  A copy of this email exchange is attached at Annex A.  The content of the Annex is as follows:

Annex A – Email from Scottish Government official to Employee of RZSS, dated 17 April 2018.

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 exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA and 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) apply to some of that information.  

2. All correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between the Scottish Government and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in relation to the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. I am looking for this information for dates starting 01/01/18 up until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

Between 2018 and 30 July 2018 email exchanges as well a two meeting took place between Transport Scotland and the RZSS. Copies of these email exchanges and minutes of meetings are attached at Annexes B-D.  The content of the Annexes is as follows:

Annex B: Email chain between RZSS and Transport Scotland (as well as their  design consultants) related to the refurbishing the A9 near the Highland Wildlife Park.

Annex C: Minutes to stakeholder liason meeting dated 28th January re: A9 Dualling Project 

Annex D: Minutes to stakeholder liason meeting dated 15th May re: A9 Dualling Project – design update

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 exemptions under sections 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA.

3. Details of any payments including grants given to/paid to Edinburgh Zoo and the RZSS (including Highland Wildlife Park) from 1 January 2018 until today's date (30/07/18) or more recent.

One payment of £21,080 (inclusive of VAT) was paid to RZSS on 1 March 2018 in respect of a research project on the conservation of Scottish wildcats.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.  This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the information requested because its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organisation.

This exemption is subject to the “public interest test.”  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered whether or not 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.  We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate.  However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the affected party is able to maintain its ability to conduct private commercial activity.

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-18-02023 related documents

63 page PDF
2.1 MB

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