Publication - FOI/EIR release

Colin Clark, communications regarding A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen: EIR release

Published: 22 Mar 2019

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

Published:
22 Mar 2019
Colin Clark, communications regarding A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00452
Date received: 11 Feb 2019
Date responded: 11 Mar 2019
Information requested

 

Please provide all communications to and from MP Colin Clark on the A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme, including the content of email attachments. Please also provide minutes of all meetings with this MP on the same subject.

 

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.

I can confirm that we have received one letter of correspondence from Colin Clark MP dated 13 October 2018 in relation to the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme. A response was provided to Mr Clark MP from the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Mr Michael Matheson MSP, on the 6 November 2018. Both the letter of enquiry and response are attached as requested.
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 an exception(s) under regulation(s) 10(4)(a) and 11(2) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter. 

 

Annex A
Exceptions applied

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have minutes of meetings with Colin Clark MP as no meetings have been held with him in relation to the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme. Therefore we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

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. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because no meetings have been held with Mr Clark in relation to the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme.

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 information about meetings with Colin Clark MP regarding the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) also applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party 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. The names of Scottish Government officials and also signatures of parties involved have been redacted from correspondence provided. This exception 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 exception.

 

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Contact

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Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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