You asked for any correspondence (letters, emails or otherwise) in 2018 from farmers, crofters and land managers to Fergus Ewing on any of the following topics: future rural policy and support in Scotland after the UK leaves the European Union; the Common Agricultural Policy; the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
Some of the information you have requested is available from Plantlife’s website (their report on Forestry, available here https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/publications/quality-and-quantity-revitalising-scotlands-woodlands). Some of the information is also available from the responses to the recent Scottish Government consultation on Stability and Simplicity - Proposals for a Rural Funding Transition (available here: https://consult.gov.scot/agriculture-and-rural-communities/economy-post-brexit-transition/consultation/published_select_respondent) and the responses to the consultation run by the National Council of Rural Advisers (available here: https://consult.gov.scot/agriculture-and-rural-communities/a-rural-conversation/consultation/published_select_respondent).
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 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 the exemption under section 38 (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reason why this exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption applies
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, i.e. the names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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 38(2A) of FOISA (personal information) also applies, as the Cabinet Secretary receives a number of general comments on policy made in the course of correspondence about individual cases brought to his attention. As these are not part of a formal consultation, we do not have individuals’ consent to publish their views, and we therefore consider the private nature of that correspondence to be protected by the data protection principles set out in GDPR Article 5(1).
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 Andrews House
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