- 11 Sep 2019
Date received: 8 Aug 2019
Date responded: 29 Aug 2019
I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) for information regarding enforcement outcomes in MPAs.
I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.
You originally requested information on:
“…enforcement outcomes (8 in total) between 16th August 2015 and 25th May 2019 - please see FOI doc attached - FoI/19/01234.
1 - I wish to request the names of boats and their owners in these cases.
2 - Can you tell me where each of these incidents took place?
3 - I also request copies of any letters sent to the above people.
4 - Can you also advise please how much people were fined in relation to the three cases when fixed penalty notices were given?”
In preparing a response to you, an exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) was applied 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.
You requested a review of the response, as follows:
“I'd like to request an internal review of your decision please as naming the businesses/boats involved - not the individuals - is a matter of transparency. There is a precedent for this because previously data protection laws meant individual farmers could not be named for receiving EU grants/CAP subsidies. While indviduals still cannot be named, businesses now can be - despite data protection laws.”
I have reviewed the original response, and concluded as follows;
1 It was correct to treat the names of the businesses/boats involved as personal information and therefore withhold this information under Regulation 11(2). Generally, the name of a vessel would enable an interested person to identify an individual (e.g. skipper, owner, etc) if it was placed in the public domain. This is more strongly the case for vessels operated by sole traders or small companies.
2 It was correct to release information to you about the location of the incidents.
3 It was not correct to withhold from you copies of letters sent to people associated with the vessels under consideration. I therefore append copies of these letters, from which personal information has been redacted. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of this 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.
For clarity, there were 8 enforcement outcomes:
1 x no action (therefore no letter)
2 have been referred to the Procurator Fiscal, therefore there are no letters.
2 received warning letters (included in the associated attached files)
3 received Fixed Penalty Notice letters (included in the associated attached files)
4 It was correct to release to you information regarding the fines applied through fixed penalty notices.
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