- 18 Nov 2020
Date received: 2 Oct 2020
Date responded: 30 Oct 2020
1) “…all and any information, minutes of meetings, emails, reports, dated correspondence etc that you have in relation to consideration of the direct and indirect impacts of the Violet route option for the proposed A96 East of Huntly to Aberdeen dualling project on the Cultural Heritage and sensitivity of the receiving areas, including but not limited to the Harlaw Battle Field, the Barra Battle Field, Keithhall Designed Landscape, the road to the Battlefield that crosses Selbie Hill, Selbie Hill, Selbie Cairn, Bourtie House, Balbithan House, the long distance view from Keithhall Designed Landscape towards Selbie Hill and vice versa and the long distance view from Bennachie to Selbie Hill and vice versa..”
2) evidence of how the consideration of the ‘sensitivity of the receiving area’ as required by the new guidance and as indicated in the minutes referred to above, has affected the assessment of both the direct and indirect impact of the proposed Violet route on the Cultural Heritage throughout its route.”
As part of the DMRB Stage 2 assessment, the work to consider the impact on cultural heritage assets across the scheme is ongoing, therefore an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by the release of the DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report in the coming months. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still being worked on is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.
Please note that the meeting of 18 February 2020 referred to in your request was a meeting with Historic Environment Scotland as opposed to the Environmental Steering Group.
The DMRB Stage 2 assessment approach, including identification of the receiving area, has been agreed through consultation with Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report will describe the receiving area, identify all cultural heritage features within it, and consider the direct and indirect impacts on the cultural heritage features for all the route options. Following the identification of a preferred option, further consultation will be undertaken with HES to develop sensitive detailed design during DMRB Stage 3.
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