- 28 Oct 2020
Date received: 5 Aug 2020
Date responded: 2 Sep 2020
In relation to the planning application submitted to Highland Council (reference 20/00616/FUL) for Construction of vertical launch space port with launch operations control centre, site integration facility, launch pad complex, antenna park, access road, fencing, services and associated infrastructure:
All information (including correspondence, copy notices etc.) held by the Scottish Ministers in relation to compliance with regulation 41 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (2017 Regulations) showing:
1.1 The coming to the attention of the Scottish Ministers that the development proposed is likely to have significant effects on the environment in an EEA State other than the United Kingdom and the Scottish Ministers' determination to that effect or otherwise.
1.2 Where it has been identified that the development proposed is likely to have significant effects on the environment in an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, that the Scottish Ministers sent to the other EEA States significantly affected:
· A description of the development together with any available information on its possible significant effect on the environment in another EEA State; and
· Information on the nature of the decision which may be taken.
1.3 Whether any EEA State indicated that it wished to participate in the procedure under the 2017 Regulations.
1.4 In the event that any EEA State indicated that it wished to participate, whether the Scottish Ministers sent to that EEA State:
A copy of the application concerned;
· A copy of the EIA report in respect of the development to which the application relates; and
· Relevant information regarding the procedure under the 2017 Regulations.
1.5 Whether the Scottish Ministers arranged for the particulars and information referred to above and any additional information submitted by the developer to be made available within a reasonable time to the authorities designated in accordance with Article 6(1) of the Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment and the public concerned in the territory of the EEA State or States likely to be significantly affected, and ensured that those authorities and the public concerned were given an opportunity before planning permission is granted to forward to the Scottish Ministers within a reasonable time their opinion on the information supplied.
1.6 Whether any such opinions referred to in 1.5 above were received.
1.7 Whether the Scottish Ministers entered into consultations with the EEA State or States likely to be affected, regarding, amongst other things, the potential significant effects of the development on the environment of that EEA State and the measures envisaged to reduce or eliminate such effects, and determined in agreement with the EEA State or States a reasonable period of time for the duration of the consultation period; and
1.8 Whether any responses were received in relation to the consultations.
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.
1. Regulation 41 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (2017 Regulations) would require consultation with other EEA states if it has been brought to Minister’s attention that a planning application is likely to have significant transboundary effects. In this instance, Scottish Government planning officials were satisfied with both the conclusions of the EIA Report and the Highland Council that there are no likely significant transboundary effects and, therefore, Regulation 41 did not apply.
2. There is some information held on how we made our conclusions regarding compliance with Regulation 41, and most of that information is enclosed.
3. We are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exceptions under the following regulations of the EIRs apply to that information - regulation 11 (2) personal data, and regulation 10(4)(e) legal advice. The reasons why these exceptions apply are explained in the Annex to this letter.
These exceptions are 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.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.
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 legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege. 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 favor 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, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.
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