Publication - FOI/EIR release

Aberdeen-Central Belt Reference Group: doubling of rail line between Usan and Montrose: EIR release

Published: 23 Nov 2018

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

Published:
23 Nov 2018
Aberdeen-Central Belt Reference Group: doubling of rail line between Usan and Montrose: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/18/03146
Date received: 29 October 2018
Date responded: 23 November 2018
 
Information requested

You asked:

‘Could you supply any updated agendas, notes, minutes and documentation associated with the Aberdeen-Central Belt Reference Group, and also any further correspondence you have had with either Network Rail, ScotRail, or Scottish Government regarding the doubling of the rail line between Usan and Montrose.’

Response

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.

We do endeavor to provide information whenever possible.  The table below lists the information held by Transport Scotland for the period you specify, and these documents are attached. 

Some of the information you have requested is available from the following links:

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information that is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.  If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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 exceptions under regulations 10(4)(d) and 10(4)(e) of the EIRs apply to that information. The reasons why those exceptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

The following exceptions apply.

Regulation 10(4)(d) - material in the course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete data.  An exception under 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (material in the course of completion) applies to some of the information you requested.

This exception applies because to release the information at this stage would not demonstrate a conclusive policy outcome. 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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to reach a conclusive policy outcome before official documents are released.

Regulation 10(4)(e) - internal communications. An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs internal communications applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to internal exchanges and release could compromise our collective ability to reach an agreed policy position.

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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between officials whilst we are still developing an agreed policy position.

 
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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