Publication - FOI/EIR release

Meetings details of proposed publicly owned energy company: EIR release

Published: 8 Aug 2019

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

Published:
8 Aug 2019
Meetings details of proposed publicly owned energy company: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01673
Date received: 11 Jul 2019
Date responded: 8 Aug 2019
Information requested

You asked for:

Details and minutes of meetings where the proposed publicly owned energy company was discussed by Scottish Ministers

Details and minutes of meetings where the proposed publicly owned energy company was discussed by Scottish Government Special Advisor

Documentation outlining Scottish Government plans for a publicly owned energy company

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.

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 an exception(s) under regulation(s) 10(4)(d) (Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data) and 10(5)(e) (Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information, provided for by law to protect legitimate economic interest) of the EIRs applies to that information.

The reasons why that exception(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.  Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you, however for helpfulness the link to the public energy company strategic outline case is: https://www.gov.scot/publications/public-energy-company-strategic-outline-case/.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exception applies

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) (Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested.  This applies to ongoing plans for the public energy company, research involved, and the in progress Outline Business Case.

 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 planned future publications.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that incomplete information that is still being worked on is not disclosed when it might mislead or misinform.

An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) (Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information, provided for by law to protect legitimate economic interest) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested.  This applies to commercial information and research provided by third parties.

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 because as part of open, transparent and accountable government.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in the premature release of negotiating position with potential contractors and partners hindering the development and potential of the public energy company.

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FOI-19-01673 - Information Released

11 page PDF
153.0 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