1 - Can you please confirm who provided you with the data relating to Capercaillie?
2 - What this data contained?
1) The data regarding capercaillie was taken from the Habitat Regulations Appraisal report which was produced for the A9 Dualling Dalraddy to Slochd project. The report contains data collected during site specific capercaillie surveys undertaken by our design consultants Atkins Mouchel Joint Venture (AMJV). Survey areas were determined following consultation with the RSPB and included a habitat suitability assessment survey in March 2017 to establish the extent of suitable habitat for capercaillie. This survey covered areas of pine or mixed woodland as identified from aerial photography and Phase 1 habitat survey information. Records of Lek sites were also provided by the RSPB.
2) While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland cannot disclose this information. An exception under regulation 10(5)(g) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to protection of the environment) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the protection of the environment to which the information relates. It may be helpful to know that capercaillie are a protected species and their locations are to be kept confidential so that they are not disturbed in their natural habitat by members of the public.
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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the environment to which the information relates.
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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