Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information relating to Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018: EIR release

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

Published:
15 Feb 2021
Information relating to Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000097672
Date received: 12 Oct 2020
Date responded: 5 Nov 2020
Information requested

You asked for the following information on CoPLaR:

1) A copy of the findings of the stakeholder steering group that informed the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018.

2) A copy of correspondence between Scottish Ministers, civil servants and steering group members discussing the Code of Practice.

Response

We recognise that in your request you requested information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). However, 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 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.

Response to your request (1)
You asked for a copy of the findings of the stakeholder steering group that informed the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018.

Copies of the relevant documents from the stakeholder steering group that informed the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018 are attached. No final report or summary of the steering group’s work was produced and therefore we have interpreted ‘findings’ as being the minutes of meetings as a record of the discussion.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance exemptions apply to some of the information you have requested. The reasons why an exemption applies to this information are explained below:

Exemption: The Scottish Government does not have this information:
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. We do not have copies of minutes for meetings 3 and 4 of the steering group. Therefore we are refusing that part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. This exception applies because the Scottish Government can only provide information that it holds. 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, but Zero Waste Scotland, who chaired and took minutes for the meetings of the steering group, may have the information you are looking for. Their contact details are provided below.

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 CoPLaR, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Exemption: Personal information:
An exemption under regulation 11 of the EIRs (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of Scottish Government staff and steering group members, 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 exemption 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 exemption.

Advice and assistance:
Where you can look for this information:

You may wish to contact Zero Waste Scotland, who chaired and took minutes for the meetings of the steering group. You can contact them via their website at https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/. The Scottish Government does not hold the information you requested for meeting 3 or meeting 4 of the steering group.

Response to your request (2)
You asked for a copy of correspondence between Scottish Ministers, civil servants and steering group members discussing the Code of Practice.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption applies to some of the information you have requested. The reasons why an exemption applies to this information are explained below:

Exemption: Internal communications:
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption applies to some of the information you requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs. This exception applies because the information you requested is categorised as internal communications within the Scottish Government.

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.

Exemption: Third party interest:
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption applies to some of the information you requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(5)(f) of the EIRs (third party interest). This exception applies because we do not hold consent from the involved parties of the group to disclose these communications. The group is no longer active, and the Scottish Government does not hold a terms of reference for the steering group to serve as consent.

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.

About FOI

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.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG