Publication - FOI/EIR release

Digital Planning Strategy planning and permitted development rights: EIR release

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

Published:
7 Feb 2020
Digital Planning Strategy planning and permitted development rights: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000010919
Date received: 6 Jan 2020
Date responded: 30 Jan 2020
Information requested

1. The amount of money (in GBP) allocated and spent by the Scottish Government since 2016 on three different workstreams. These are: production of the Planning (Scotland) Act, production of the Digital Planning Strategy and the review of permitted development rights within Scotland.
2. The number of employees within the Scottish Government assigned to work on three different workstreams. These are: production of secondary legislation following royal ascent of the Planning (Scotland) Act, production of the Digital Planning Strategy and the review of permitted development rights within Scotland.

Response

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.

1. (a.) Production of Planning (Scotland) Act: 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 officials from across Planning & Architecture Division and the wider Scottish Government contributed to the production of the Planning (Scotland) Bill and our handling during the subsequent passage of the Bill through the Scottish Parliament while also conducting other duties not related to the new Act.
While we do not hold the information requested in the format you require, you may find it helpful to know that Planning and Architecture Division’s Total Operating Costs for 2017-18 and 2018-19 were £2,744,250.37 and £3,550,938.45 respectively.

(b.) Production of Digital Planning Strategy: Non-Staff Costs associated with the development of a Digital Strategy including stakeholder engagement, research and support for the Digital taskforce were £214,248 in 2017-18 and £48,767 in 2018-19. You may also find it helpful to know that our total capital costs for development of digital tools over this period were £465,802 in 2017-18 and £1.63m in 2018-19.

(c) Review of Permitted Development Rights: The costs associated with The Scottish Government’s Programme for Extending Permitted Development Rights in Scotland: A Sustainability Appraisal which was published in June 2019 totalled £82,391.83.

2. SG employees assigned to work on the three different workstreams. This information is not held under 10(4)(a). As indicated earlier, officials across Planning and Architecture Division and the wider Scottish Government contributed to this work while also performing other duties. You may find it helpful to know that Planning and Architecture Division’s workforce plan at the beginning of each reporting year from 2017-18 until 2019-20 reported full time equivalent of permanent staff or fixed term appointments of 60, 67 and 62 respectively.

About FOI

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.

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