Publication - FOI/EIR release

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and net zero emissions correspondence: EIR release

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

Published:
15 Jan 2020
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and net zero emissions correspondence: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/02637
Date received: 9 Dec 2019
Date responded: 10 Jan 2020
Information requested

You asked for:

  1. Any briefings or background materials provided to Nicola Sturgeon and/or Fergus Ewing by special advisers or civil servants in 2019 on the topic of leaving the CFP by December 2020. 
  2. Any briefings or background materials provided to Nicola Sturgeon and/or Roseanna Cunningham by special advisers or civil servants in 2019 on the topic of achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

This response covers your second bullet point.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.  I have put the documents in to a table and coloured every alternate one blue to make them easier to read.  I have redacted the names and telephone numbers of most staff members below Deputy Director level.  I have also included links to relevant documents which are now available online.

Whilst 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 under regulation 10(4)(e) - internal communications in relation to general policy and decision-making and 10(4)(e) - internal communications in relation to Scottish Parliamentary Question (SPQ) background notes, Ministerial/media briefings, lines to take, etc.

The reasons why the exeption applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Annex A - Reasons for not providing information
Regulation 10(4)(e) – internal communications [in relation to general policy and decision-making]

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 to inform public debate.  However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions.  This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.  Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on policy relating to climate change will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.

Regulation 10(4)(e) – internal communications [in relation to Scottish Parliamentary Question (SPQ) background notes, Ministerial/media briefings, lines to take, etc.]

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication about lines to take.

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, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate.  However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials can provide free and frank advice and views to Ministers in lines to take.  It is clearly in the public interest that Ministers can properly robustly defend the Government’s policies and decisions.  They need full and candid advice from officials to enable them to do so.  Premature disclosure of this type of information could lead to a reduction in the comprehensiveness and frankness of such advice and views in the future, which would not be in the public interest. 

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FOI/19/02637 - Information Released

35 page PDF
323.4 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