Information

Information regarding Whiteshore Cockles, North Uist from August 2018: EIR release

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


Information requested

Information on Whiteshore Cockles in North Uist since 7 August 2018. This was to include information on disposal of mortalities, correspondence with European Commission, any other documents and information relating to the derogation, including copies of any correspondence and emails discussions relating to the October 2019 'confirmation' by the Scottish Government's Animal Health and Welfare Division that "burial activity could continue".

Also information relating to any odour complaints, photos, details of site visits, samples, environmental assessments, planning letters, emails, pollution, PPC, compliance, any other information relating to Whiteshore Cockles the disposal system, burial, installation of a fish drier.

Finally, information relating to an application or any discussions relating to a Marine Licence for Whiteshore Cockles and any waste permits required by Marine Scotland.

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.

Other exemptions:

  • Regulation 10(4)(a) – Information not held – Scottish Governemt does not hold information on environmental assessments or planning letters, this information will be held by SEPA and Local Authority respectively.
  • Regulation 10(4)(e) – Internal communications in relation to general policy and decision-making – This relates to ministerial submissions and internal communication in developing the submission between officials and private office.

Scottish Government response:
Please find attached the documents held by Scottish Government on mortalities at Whiteshore Cockles, including correspondence with European Commission and any other documents and information relating to the derogation, disposal system, burial and installation since 1 January 2015.

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to provide information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.

We may hold some information of relevance to your request, obtained through the Scottish Government’s surveillance activities associated within aquatic animal health. The outcomes of that surveillance, including any information of relevance where such exists, is subject to active publication through the Scottish Government website:

https://www.gov.scot/collections/publication-of-fish-health-inspectorate-information/

No marine licence applications have been received from Whiteshore Cockles Ltd in relation to the activity in question and MS-LOT is not aware of any discussions that have taken place with Whiteshore Cockles Ltd between the dates specified relating to obtaining a marine licence. It should also be noted that the discharge of waste water into the marine environment is not a licensable activity under the Marine (Scotland) 2010 Act and therefore a marine licence would not be required to carry out such an activity.

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

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