Publication - FOI/EIR release

Policy proposals for Deposit Return Scheme from specified stakeholders - correspondence: EIR release

Published: 28 Jun 2019

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

Published:
28 Jun 2019
Policy proposals for Deposit Return Scheme from specified stakeholders - correspondence: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01326
Date received: 28 May 2019
Date responded: 25 Jun 2019
Information requested

You asked for copies of any correspondence held by the Scottish Government relating to policy proposals (from the last two years) for the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland from the following stakeholders:

  • Keep Scotland Beautiful
  • The Federation of Small Businesses
  • Scottish Retail Consortium
  • The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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.

1. I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.

2. Some of the information you have requested is available from the following websites:

3. 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 of the EIRs apply under regulations: 10(4)(d) material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data; 10(5)(d) legal advice; and 11(2) Personal data relating to third party. The reasons why these exceptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exception applies

An exception under Regulation 10(4)(d) has been applied in respect of certain information. That Regulation states “a Scottish public authority may refuse to make environmental information available to the extent that the request involves material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data”. The information requested involves active and ongoing policy development.  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 information which is still is under active consideration 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(5)(d) has been applied in respect to certain information. That Regulation states “a Scottish public authority may refuse to make environmental information available to the extent that the request involves confidentiality of proceedings provided for by law”. These proceedings include obtaining legal advice. 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, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

An exception under Regulation 11(2) has been applied in respect to certain information. That Regulation states “a Scottish public authority may refuse to make environmental information available to the extent that the request involves personal data relating to a third party”. The communications requested contain third party information. 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.

About FOI
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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 Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG