- 19 Dec 2019
Date received: 10 Dec 2019
Date responded: 19 Dec 2019
You asked for information related to the funding of the Circular Economy Investment Fund:
1. How much money has been allocated by the Scottish Government to the Circular Economy Investment Fund broken down by financial year since its inception.
2. How many applications has the fund received, including applicant organisations, and broken down by financial year, since its inception.
3. How many applications have received financial support through the fund, including names of the application organisations, details of the value of the funding provided, broken down by financial year.
4. The contents of any monitoring or update reports provided to the Scottish Government by Zero Waste Scotland relating to the Circular Economy Investment Fund.
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), 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.
Some of the information you have requested is available from previous releases under the EIRs which can be found here: Circular Economy Investment Fund allocations 2016-2017: FOI release and Circular Economy Investment Fund: EIR release. Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
We hold some of the information you have requested, with particular regard to estimates of Scottish Government funding for the year 2020/21, wherein Zero Waste Scotland has estimated Scottish Government funding of between £1.2 and £1.6m for the financial year.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request
under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter. However, you may wish to contact Zero Waste Scotland, the
contact details of which can be found here: https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/content/frequently-asked-questions-0, who may be able to help you.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
The Scottish Government does not have the information
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. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because Zero Waste Scotland, as our delivery partner for waste and resources work, is responsible for administering this and other funds on the Scottish Government’s behalf, and holds full information on the CEIF.
ZWS receives a block grant from Scottish Government that is not broken down by the specifics of how it should be used, for instance specifics on money for the CEIF rather than an overarching grant for circular economy work. While, as you note, ZWS is not legally subject to FOIs and EIRs, the organisation does voluntarily comply with the regulations.
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 Circular Economy Investment Fund, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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