Publication - FOI/EIR release

Marine Scotland - Wild salmonid locational guidance and information: EIR release

Published: 2 Aug 2019

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

Published:
2 Aug 2019
Marine Scotland - Wild salmonid locational guidance and information: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01408
Date received: 6 Jun 2019
Date responded: 1 Aug 2019
Information requested

You asked for the following information –

  1. Copies of powerpoint presentations presented to you by Marine Scotland Science staff on the 18th April 2019.
  2. All reports on the constraints and opportunities project sent to or presented by MSS to the Scottish Government’s aquaculture technical working group, and by MSS to the Interactions Working Group (including all heat maps).
  3. Any correspondence between the aquaculture technical working group and the Interactions Working Group, or between either group and Dr Gubbins.
  4. Access to the aquaculture constraint and opportunity maps on the NMPi or other electronic platforms. If that cannot be provided without access to specialist software, please provide high resolution print outs or digital images of the wild salmonid mapping layers in the GIS.
  5. All documents relating to any wild salmonid locational guidance sensitivity ‘heat maps’ being shown by Marine Scotland to Local Planning Authorities.
  6. Any correspondence from Local Planning Authorities requesting sight of such wild salmonid sensitivity ‘heat maps’ or other spatial locational guidance from Marine Scotland/Marine Scotland Science.
  7. Any information relating to the wild salmonid sensitivity ‘heat map’ published in 2013 by the River and Fisheries Trusts Scotland (RAFTS) including all internal communications on this subject within Marine Scotland/Marine Scotland Science, and correspondence with other Scottish Government departments or external agencies, and with any officials of Scottish public bodies of any type, including Local Planning Authorities, and with individual outside MS.
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 will deal with each point of your request in turn.

1. Copies of powerpoint presentations presented to you by Marine Scotland Science staff on the 18th April 2019.

Copies of these presentations are provided in a Dropbox file for you to view and download.  You can access this file online - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hqr896u4h4eww6j/AAAc9ZqT4E82Ip_mj6O2AHd4a?dl=0.

2. All reports on the constraints and opportunities project sent to or presented by MSS to the Scottish Government’s aquaculture technical working group, and by MSS to the Interactions Working Group (including all heat maps).

In relation to the point above, the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.  Therefore we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

3. Any correspondence between the aquaculture technical working group and the Interactions Working Group, or between either group and Dr Gubbins.

In this instance we are unable to provide the information that you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) (unfinished or incomplete information) of the EIRs applies.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.  We have not considered correspondence that purely related to arranging times of meetings or attendance at meetings.

4. Access to the aquaculture constraint and opportunity maps on the NMPi or other electronic platforms. If that cannot be provided without access to specialist software, please provide high resolution print outs or digital images of the wild salmonid mapping layers in the GIS.

We are in the process of providing these data on Marine Scotland’s information portal (MSI), and have created a “project page” for spatial data relevant to aquaculture planning and siting here http://marine.gov.scot/information/aquaculture-locational-guidance-collection-spatial-data-resources-assist-planning-and. It has not been possible to upload all of the relevant data to this site by the deadline. The data missing from MSI are provided as digital files at the same Dropbox file referred to at point 1 above - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hqr896u4h4eww6j/AAAc9ZqT4E82Ip_mj6O2AHd4a?dl=0.  These are the .png files in this folder, and each of these is accompanied by a metadata file (the Word docs named NMPI…).

We do not consider the “wild salmonid mapping layers” you refer to to be suitable for publication on the Marine Scotland information portal. This is because they are a work in progress and not suitable for use in their current format (as you are aware the Aquaculture Technical Working Group is further developing these outputs). The digital images of these provisional layers are available in the presentations provided under 1) above and are marked as “draft”.

5. All documents relating to any wild salmonid locational guidance sensitivity ‘heat maps’ being shown by Marine Scotland to Local Planning Authorities.

In relation to the point above, the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.  Therefore we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

6. Any correspondence from Local Planning Authorities requesting sight of such wild salmonid sensitivity ‘heat maps’ or other spatial locational guidance from Marine Scotland/Marine Scotland Science.

Correspondence from Orkney Islands Council is included in the Drop box file (the Word file named ‘Email correspondence’) referred to above https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hqr896u4h4eww6j/AAAc9ZqT4E82Ip_mj6O2AHd4a?dl=0.  Some information (names of indivduals) has been redacted from that supplied.  This is because an exception at 11(2) (personal data) of the EIRs applies to this informaiotn.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

7. Any information relating to the wild salmonid sensitivity ‘heat map’ published in 2013 by the River and Fisheries Trusts Scotland (RAFTS) including all internal communications on this subject within Marine Scotland/Marine Scotland Science, and correspondence with other Scottish Government departments or external agencies, and with any officials of Scottish public bodies of any type, including Local Planning Authorities, and with individual outside MS.

Again, in relation to the point above, the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.  Therefore we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
The Scottish Government does not have the information

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 it does not exist.

For further clarification, under point 2) you requested reports to the technical or working groups. While we do not hold reports to the technical or working groups, information on the methodology in the project you refer to (‘heat maps’) has been verbally communicated to some of the members of the Technical Group using visual aids (the slides provided to you in the powerpoint presentations at point 1).

Under point 5) No documents have been shown to Local Authorities on this subject.

Under point 7) Following searches, Marine Scotland can find no records of correspondence or internal communications relating to the 2013 RAFTS report.

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 this subject, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

An exception applies

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested, specifically that requested at point 3 above, because it is material which is still in the course of completion.   The material consists of draft maps/text discussing the components of a future risk assessment framework (assessing the level of risk posed to wild salmonids from interactions). The framework is still being developed.  The Technical Working Group will consult on its proposals, around October 2019 and the content of the consultation will include an explanation of the proposed framework and example maps.

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 this will be met by our planned consultation in the autumn..  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on or 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. 

A further 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.

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Contact

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

The Scottish Government
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