- 8 Nov 2021
Date received: 22 Sep 2021
Date responded: 20 Oct 2021
1) Please provide any external communications between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or Scottish Water regarding the leakage of sewage since July 2021.
2) Please provide any internal communications regarding the leakage of sewage since July 2021.
I attach a copy of most of the information you requested.
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 them.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to all 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.
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 an exception(s) under regulation12(4)(d) (Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents and incomplete data) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception(s) applies are explained below:
The material constitutes formation of policy and as such, a "safe space" is required to allow the process to complete.
As the exception is conditional we have applied 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. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about leakage of sewage, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring the ability to develop policy. However, under regulation 14(4) I can confirm that Scottish Water and SEPA will publish a joint paper in November 2021 with some of the information you have requested.
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