- 2 Sep 2020
Date received: 9 Jun 2020
Date responded: 7 Aug 2020
"documentation and correspondence relating to the following:
(a) the date on which the two outside lanes of highway over the Bridge were closed;
(b) the purpose of the closure of two lanes of the highway over the Bridge."
Further to the clarification dated 15 June, you confirmed that "the period of lane closure is the period of closure which our Client understands to have begun October 2018. The two outside lanes of the highway remain closed currently.
In terms of documentation we would anticipate that correspondence may be between but is by no means limited to correspondence between Transport Scotland, TranServ, the Scottish Ministers, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Inverclyde Council and independent engineers and contractors. It would include letter and email correspondence and minutes of phone calls. Documentation would include engineers' and other contractors' reports, minutes and briefing papers and any other documentation showing or tending to show the purpose of the closure of the two lanes of highway over the Bridge. Such documentation and correspondence is likely to have been produced prior to and during the period of lane closure.
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 request, 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.
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), Transport Scotland is not required to provide information which it does not have. We do not have the information you have requested because our records confirm that there has never been a 2 lane closure at this location.
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 2 lane closures on this stretch of road, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
However, whilst we do not hold specific information on 2 lane closures at this location, we do hold information related to 1 lane and total road closures within the time frame you have requested. A copy of this information and extracts of relevant documentation can be found at Annex A to this response. With regards to your specific questions, I can confirm that a series of overnight closures took place between 29 October and 28 November 2018 to allow bridge inspections and joint replacements. A further closure followed from 28 February 2019 which is currently ongoing. The purpose of these restrictions were to allow a programme of detailed bridge deck and verge inspections, joint replacements as well as testing and long-term monitoring of the A78 High Street Bridge.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House