- 23 Nov 2018
Date received: 17 October 2018
Date responded: 22 November 2018
You asked, “How much waste has been dumped in Scottish seas, by who, and where? It would be fantastic if i could have the data from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.”
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.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested, namely data relating to dredged spoil disposed of at sea for the years you specified.
The answer to your question, “Do you carry any figures on accidental water pollution?” is that we don’t hold those figures. Scheduled waste is not within our remit. In terms of accidental water pollution, we may assist at such incidents, but it would be the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for general waste relating to water, or BEIS (Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) for accidental losses relating to oil and gas, who would hold the relevant information.
Thus, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have the information.
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.
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 waste disposed of at sea, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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