Spaceport in North Uist correspondence: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked for copies of official planning documents, correspondence, and communication regarding a Spaceport, satellite-launching station, or rocket launching station in North Uist, and specifically communication between the local council of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, UK Space Agency, QinetiQ, and the MOD.


I enclose a copy of the information you requested by email attachement. 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 exemptions under Section 28(1) (relations within the UK); Section 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) and Section 38(1)(b) (personal data of a third party) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exemption under Section 28(1) – Relations within the UK. Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between any administration in the United Kingdom and any other such administration.

An exemption under Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption 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 exemption.

An exemption under Section 33(1)(b) - disclosure would (or would be likely to) prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person or organization.
Information which is commercially sensitive is often described as being “commercially confidential.”

However, there is no single exemption in FOISA covering “commercial confidentiality”. FOISA draws a distinction between information where disclosure would have a detrimental effect on commercial interests, and information which is “confidential” under Scots law.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI-19-01893 - Correspondence
FOI-19-01893 - Email Trail


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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