Communications regarding licences for deer culling: EIR release

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

Information requested

Copies of all communications both internal and external, including letters, reports, e-mails, memos, meeting minutes and notes plus (should they exist) any transcripts, notes or recordings of telephone calls, referring to the granting of licences to kill deer outside of the traditional deer shooting seasons between 01/01/18 and 03/09/20.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested, this includes communications held by Forestry and Land Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government. Due to the size of the file, and as agreed, I have sent you a link to download the information you requested.

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 below. However, you may wish to contact NatureScot at who may be able to help you.

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 we do not issue authorisations for the management or culling of deer. NatureScot has the information you are looking for. 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 out of season culling of deer, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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. In these cases the information has been redacted. 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. Some other information has also been removed as it is outwith the scope of your EIRs request.

We have also included one example of a spreadsheet which is used to request an update to the list of controllers for an authorisation held by NatureScot, these spreadsheets are entirely personal data and there would be little benefit to providing redacted versions of each. We held 18 of these documents, all similar to the example document released at page 01.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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