Publication - FOI/EIR release

Several questions regarding traffic signals on A75 in Springholm: FOI appeal

Published: 18 Mar 2021

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

Published:
18 Mar 2021
Several questions regarding traffic signals on A75 in Springholm: FOI appeal
FOI reference: FOI-19-02489-appeal
Date received: 7 Nov 2020
Date responded: 17 Dec 2020
Information requested

The A75 traffic controls within Springholm. 

Response

Following your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner in relation to parts 7(c), 8, 9 and 13 your request dated 7 November 2019, reference FOI/19/02489 for information about the A75 traffic controls within Springholm asking for:

7c) “where any of these VAS units are set, in effect, to  tolerate a degree of speeding we wish to know the specific public safety policy basis for maintaining that tolerance’

8. ‘what measures, if any, does Transport Scotland plan to take to combat this most unwelcome development’

9. ‘We wish to know what progess, if any has been made in this regard and the anticipated timescales for such approval or indeed the liklihood of such approval. We also request disclosure of any written communication which refers, suggest or requests a reduction in red trigger activation frequency here as a prerequisite to obtaining any such approval. Have you received any such communication’

13.  ‘On 2nd May 2019 ScotlandTranserv distributed to villagers a Springholm Road Safety Measures Attitude Survey seeking their thoughts, opinions and attitudes to the various courses of action they have undertaken in Springholm, per a multiple question survey and additional comments section. May we have an identity redacted analysis of the number and range of responses to each set question and transcript of any comments?’

I have given further consideration to your request and have determined that as the information you have requested relates to traffic calming measures and road safety we should have considered your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs). This is because I consider that the information you have requested would fall within the scope of ‘environmental information’ as set out within these regulations.

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ we are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), to the parts of your request set out above, 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.

Parts 7(c) and 8

In responding to parts 7(c) and 8 of your request, we provided a formal notification under section 17(1) of FOISA that this information was not held by the Scottish Government. I am satisfied that this information is not held by the Scottish Government. 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.

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 the A75 traffic controls within Springholm, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Part 9

We have given some further consideration to the information previously withheld in relation to this part of your request. Information previously considered to fall within the scope of this part of your request was exempt from disclosure under section 36(1) (legal advice) of FOISA. However having re-examined this information I have determined that this information does not fall within the scope of this part of your request as it does not relate to the reduction in red trigger activation frequency. I am satisfied that no further information is held in relation to this part and have therefore determined that the information you have requested in this part is not held by the Scottish Government. 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.

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 the A75 traffic controls within Springholm, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Part 13

We have given some further consideration to the information previously withheld in relation to this part of your request. Information previously considered to fall within the scope of this part was withheld on the basis that it was exempt from disclosure under section 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA. Having reconsidered this information under the EIRs, I have determined that most of this information can now be provided and this is now attached. However, a small amount of information remains exempt from disclosure because an exceptio under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies. This exception applies because the information 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.

Finally, in relation to part 4 of your request, it might be helpful if I further clarify that there is one detection loop location for the approach to each set of traffic lights at the distance specified previously.

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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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