- 9 Nov 2020
Date received: 2 Sep 2020
Date responded: 30 Sep 2020
“In any case, as part of this FOI please double-check whether data on well boat use of toxic chemicals and in particular Excel spreadsheets have been omitted from the Scottish Government's FOI reply and disclose the data as requested on 8 July 2020.
If this data only became available after 8 July 2020 then please consider this a new FOI request for data on well boat use of toxic chemicals by the salmon farming industry since 1 January 2019.”
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.
The 2019 Discharge Returns have been provided to you as an excel spreadsheet.
We do not yet hold completed Discharge Returns for 2020. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because of an exception under regulation 10(4)(a) (information not held) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reason why this exception applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.
The Discharge Returns for 2020 should be completed within the first half of 2021.
Annex - Reason for not providing information
An exception under regulation 10(4)(a) (information not held) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested.
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 hold the information you have requested regarding Discharge Returns for 2020.
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 the 2020 Discharge Returns, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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