Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information of changes to Polmont and Linlithgow trainlines: EIR release

Published: 24 Apr 2019

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

Published:
24 Apr 2019
Information of changes to Polmont and Linlithgow trainlines: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00821 
Date received: 14/3/2019
Date responded: 11/4/2019
 
Information requested
You asked for

1. “Explain why the removal of the 19:26 from Queen Street to Anniesland has continued to receive so much focus in meetings between Transport Scotland. Downgrade of Polmont, Camelon and Linlithgow hasn’t even been mentioned in one years worth of meetings, where it appears the introduction of the December timetable was discussed only once, in a very self-congratulatory way, with no mention at all of any stations or travellers being impacted by disbenefits to be experienced”.
 
2. “Provide details of all meetings that took place to discuss this removal and how stakeholders (including affected travellers) were engaged, particularly once the decision to downgrade the stations and remove services was taken”.
 
3. “When the Cabinet Secretary or the former Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf were made aware of the planned changes and how it responded to ScotRail/ Transport Scotland and how and when communicated with affected colleagues given them a chance to challenge the decision”.
 
Response
1: In response to your question which I have labelled 1 above, I can confirm that the December 2018 timetable was discussed at meetings prior to the introduction. For details of the consideration that was given to the December 2018 timetable for Polmont and Linlithgow I would refer you to my answer to point 2 below.

2: In response to your question which I have labelled 2 above, I can confirm that this information was supplied under a previous request for information and can be found on the Scottish Government’s website. If you follow the link below you will see details of meetings and discussions that took place including stakeholder engagement. In particular, I would refer you to the Annexes contained at the bottom of the link. https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-00116/
 
3: In response to your question which I have labelled 3 above, I can advise the information you have requested is set out in a summary table at Annex A with copies of the relevant documentation at Annex B to this letter.
 
Reasons for not providing information
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 is internal communication between Scottish Government Ministers and officials relating to the operations of Scotland’s railway.

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, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on certain aspects of the operations of Scotland’s railway to which the information relates will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that issue while it is still under discussion and development and linked to the current ScotRail Franchise.

Regulation 11(2) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) 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. 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.
 
In addition to the exemptions applied above, there has been some information redacted as it simply falls out of scope against the information you have requested. I have clearly marked up where this is the case on the document at Annex B.
 
About FOI
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

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