Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence of Scottish Conservatives policy to stop overturning of council decisions: EIR release

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

Published:
26 May 2021
Correspondence of Scottish Conservatives policy to stop overturning of council decisions: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100189834
Date received: 2 Apr 2021
Date responded: 4 May 2021
Information requested

From 21 November 2020 to present:

Copies of any correspondence (briefing, emails, letters, handwritten notes, memos, minutes of calls, minutes of meetings, attachments and/or otherwise) from and/or to civil servants and/or Special Advisers regarding the Scottish Conservatives policy to introduce a new law to stop Scottish Ministers from overturning council decisions on planning applications.

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 am able to provide you with some of the information requested.

Attached is  a Pre-election Monitoring note from 7 April 2021, and correspondence referencing the document, containing information within the scope of the request. This document is part of the work that we are undertaking to examine policies from political parties in the run up to the 2021 parliamentary election, thereby fulfilling our duties as a responsible Government. Information that is not within scope of this request has been withheld. Under the terms of the Regulation 11(2) we have withheld the names of officials as the disclosure of this personal data would contravene data protection principles.

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. correspondence between officials when providing Ministerial quotes for a press release, which can be found at
www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/scottishpolitics/2773576/scottish-conservatives-pledge-to-reduce-overturned-decisions-in-planning-process/and www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/government-accused-of-overturning-too-many-localplanning-decisions.

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

The Scottish Government does not have the information
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (information not held) 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.

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