- 19 Apr 2021
Date received: 8 Feb 2021
Date responded: 8 Mar 2021
Please assist me by identifying and supplying electronic copies of any such comparability finding request in draft or final form, or which has been sent to the US authorities by the UK or Scottish Governments.
Please also assist me by identifying and supplying electronic copies of correspondence between Scottish Government agencies, including Marine Scotland, and the US authorities, and between Scottish Government agencies, including Marine Scotland, and the aquaculture industry, and and between Scottish Government agencies, including Marine Scotland, and the UK Government, concerning the content, preparation and submission of this comparability finding request regarding Scottish marine fish farms.
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.
Attached is a copy of some of the information you requested in the format you asked for. Some of the information you have requested is available online, and links embedded in emails have been preserved for your convenience. Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.
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 part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reason why we do not hold some of this information is because the process of drafting a Comparability Finding request has not yet begun, and therefore we do not hold any information on this part of your request.
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. 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.
An exception under regulation 10 (5)(d), confidentiality of proceedings, of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. This is because some emails included live links to online meeting spaces. Historical information from meetings has been provided where in scope with your request, however access to these meeting spaces cannot be provided.
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 because of interest in the process of the UK requesting a Comparability Finding from the United States of America. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in confidentiality and security of Government offices
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