Planning application related duties undertaken by the Director General for Economy: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02402
Date received: 10 August 2018  
Date responded: 7 September 2018
Information requested
How many meetings and site visits have been undertaken by the Director General for Economy in relation to planning applications since her appointment?

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.

The answer to your question is that the Director General for Economy has not undertaken any meetings or site visits in relation to planning applications since her appointment.  As Director General for the Economy, she has no role in the process by which planning applications are determined.

As for any senior official with responsibility for environmental and economic interests, she holds meetings with stakeholders on a range of issues, some of which may subsequently come to the planning system.  Examples of this include her engagement with the purchasers of the Lochaber smelter and corresponding site visit, and her site visit to Coul Links as part of understanding the work of Scottish Natural Heritage and their engagement with developers, and her subsequent meetings with the developer as detailed in the response to PQ S5W-12978 which was answered in the Scottish Parliament on 11 December 2017.

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Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

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