Publication - FOI/EIR release

Planning permission details regarding alterations to waste recycling facility: EIR release

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

Published:
27 May 2021
Planning permission details regarding alterations to waste recycling facility: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100189524
Date received: 1 Apr 2021
Date responded: 7 May 2021
Information requested

Regarding the appeal case PPA-260-2055, 865 South Street, Glasgow, the release of the following information relating to the proposal for the period between 20/01/17 and 24/03/21: (a) all internal communications between Scottish Government officials (b) all communications between officials and Scottish Ministers; (c) all communications between Ministers; and (d) all notes of meetings (virtual or otherwise) or telephone calls.

Response

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.

I attach a copy of most of the information you requested in the format you asked for.

Reasons for not providing information

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 the following exceptions apply:

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(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to earlier draft material that was still in the course of completion. This exception is subject to the 'public interest test'. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, considered if the public interest in disclosing 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 may be some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information is not disclosed when it might misinform the public or give a misleading impression of the Government’s view or position on the matter to which the information relates.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications), of the EIRs applies to some the information you have requested because it is internal advice between Scottish Government Ministers and/or officials including legal advice about this case. 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 to inform public debate. However there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to think and consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Disclosure of thoughts and considerations is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between Ministers and officials, which could in turn undermine the decision making process. There is also strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(a) (information not held) of the EIRs has been applied, the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have any information on communications between Scottish Ministers relating to the proposal.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

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