Publication - FOI/EIR release

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL): EIR release

Published: 29 May 2019

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

Published:
29 May 2019
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL): EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01055
Date received: 15 Apr 2019
Date responded: 15 May 2019
Information requested

- A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Scottish Government and Heathrow Airport, as referenced here https://news.gov.scot/news/support-for-heathrow-expansion
- Any assessment the Scottish Government has undertaken of its ability to enforce the commitments made in that MOU.
- Any assessments the Scottish Government has undertaken of Heathrow Airport's claim that the proposed third runway at Heathrow will create 16,000 new jobs across Scotland.
- Any assessments the Scottish Government has undertaken of the number of jobs likely to be displaced from Scotland by the expansion of Heathrow airport.
-Any assessment the Scottish Government has made of the environmental impact of either (a)the proposed third runway at Heathrow and/or (b) the expected increased number of flights in and out of Scotland resulting from that expansion.

Response

We hold some of the information you requested in relation to points 1 and 5 of your request. 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 we do not hold the information requested in relation to points 2, 3 and 4. Exemptions under Reg 11 (2), Reg 10(4)(d) and Reg 10(4)(e) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) apply to the information we have provided. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter. Any information outwith the scope of your request has also been redacted.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
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.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. We have redacted this information as we are still developing our analysis of the potential environmental impact of the construction of a third runway at London Heathrow Airport. It is our intention to publish the results of this analysis when it is complete later this year.

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 public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information is not disclosed when it might misinform the public or give a misleading impression of the Government's view or position on the matter to which the information relates.

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 officials about methodology.

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 the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion and increase in flights to and from Scotland will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government's view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development. We have redacted this information as it concerns discussions around methodology.

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FOI-19-01055 Information released

14 page PDF
273.9 kB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG