- 16 Sep 2020
Date received: 28 Jul 2020
Date responded: 24 Aug 2020
Since a large part of Strathoykel has already been clear felled, under freedom of information I am interested in knowing the total [area of] commercial forestry in the catchment and the area that has been clear felled in the last 10 years.
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.
Please see attached the information which you requested. You will notice that there is a summary sheet which summarises the total areas and percentages and this is followed by a number of annexes which give more detailed background information. In addition, we have included an explanation of how the areas and percentages were calculated as follows:
a) We calculated the total area approved for felling from 2019 to 2029, this includes all approvals given via felling licences/felling permissions, long term forest plans and Forestry and Land Scotland’s land management plans.
b) We calculated all areas previously felled and not replanted (including areas replanted but under 10 years old) and added that to the total area approved from felling from 2019 to 2029.
c) We calculated the area of all new woodland planted within the catchment which was older than 10 years old and deducted that from the total of the areas approved for felling and areas previously felled but not replanted, this gave us the total area felled or approved for felling over the last 15 years.
d) We divided the total area felled or approved for felling by the area of the Oykel catchment to work out the percentage of the catchment that has been felled or approved for felling. You will note that we also divided the total area felled or approved for felling by the area of the Langwell Farm catchment. Both percentages conform to the UK Forestry Standard on flood risk.
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