- 8 Mar 2021
Date received: 7 Jan 2021
Date responded: 2 Feb 2021
In the past five years, how many grants have been repaid from landowners back to your organisation for trees that had been planted on their land, but had subsequently been removed.
Could this be broken down by i) year and ii) the reason for repayment (for example, to make way for windfarm development).
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.
In the last five years 24 grants have been repaid (2015 1 case; 2016 8 cases; 2017 9 cases; 2018 3 cases; 2019 1 case), either fully or partially, to Scottish Forestry (or it’s predecessor Forestry Commission Scotland). At the current time due to Covid restrictions on access to our offices and paper files, it is not possible to determine the nature of these reclaims, and whether they relate to tree planting, as opposed to other grants, such as for management plans, which have been repaid.
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