You asked for:-
The reports associated with the 'detailed appraisal' of the route options which were selected and deselected prior to the October 2018 public exhibition to determine the 'better performing' options
A record of all environmental surveys undertaken on the ground between the October 2018 and the deselection decisions May 2019 associated with the blue pink and brown route options.
Confirmation of the percentage of landowners along each of the pink and brown route options known and the number of on the ground engagement meetings held with land owners on the brown and the pink route options to understand land severance issue and local environmental effects.
The number, location and types of in the field environmental surveys undertaken on the brown and the pink routes to date and planned prior to selection of the preferred option by end of 2019.
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.
The reports relating to the assessment of route options prior to the October 2018 public exhibitions are available from the Transport Scotland website. A copy of the ‘Corridor Options Workshop Report’, ‘First Fix Alignment Workshop Report’ and ‘Route Options Sifting Workshop Report’ is available from the link below:
A spreadsheet containing all environmental surveys undertaken between October 2018 and May 2019 is attached to this letter. The spreadsheet also contains a list of all currently planned environmental surveys to the end of 2019.
With regard to landowner consultation, at this stage it is estimated that our Consultant, Amey Arup Joint Venture, has established land ownership details for around 90% of the area covered by the pink and brown route options.
A Landowner Station was set up at the Initial Route Options Public Exhibition for the A96 Dualling East of Huntly to Aberdeen scheme held in October 2018 and again at the Public Drop-In sessions in May 2019. The purpose of this was to allow landowners potentially affected by any of the route options to voluntarily provide their details and mark the boundary of their property/land so that we could make contact with them in the future where necessary. Their contact details were also added to a database so that they could be advised of any scheme updates such as notification of the Public Drop-In sessions in May 2019.
I can advise that a great deal of proactive work has also taken place to identify landowners who may not have attended any of the public exhibitions but where we had identified a requirement to access their land for the purposes of carrying out specific targeted environmental surveys as detailed above to collect data to use as part of the assessment process. The consultation programme with individual property and landowners to consider the impact on, and mitigation for, any privately owned infrastructure, access and landscape effects will be carried out in more detail when the preferred option is known during the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Stage 3 Assessment (i.e. the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option) as part of the recognised and established process.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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