- 20 Oct 2021
Date received: 27 Sep 2021
Date responded: 6 Oct 2021
“The very recent raising of a causeway between the islands of Luing and Torsa gives rise to some serious concerns.
This is a channel which has been used for decades by sea paddlers, both as a short cut from Arduaine to the western entrance to Cuan Sound, and as a safer passageway in a navigable waterway for paddling groups that are not experienced enough to tackle the more challenging route north of Torsa and up Cuan past Cleat Rock against the tidal flow, or as an alternative to making passage in the Sound of Luing during adverse weather.
What permission, if any, has been granted to allow the blocking of a navigable marine tidal waterway?
What considerations have been given to the adverse environmental impact the works will already have had, and will continue to have on the marine life that relies on the tidal flow as integral to the localised ecosystem?
The role of statutory bodies in adhering to guidelines on consultation with stakeholders, decisionmaking and monitoring/enforcement to ensure compliance.”
1. Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. We can confirm that Marine Scotland has not received an application or granted a marine licence for the construction of the causeway. Marine Scotland officials have now been made aware of the matter and will be looking into this further.
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.
While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information held about any permission granted to allow the blocking of a navigable marine tidal waterway, and any considerations given to the adverse environmental impact such works would have, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
2. Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) is responsible for marine licensing in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Ministers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 for the Scottish inshore region (0-12 nautical miles) and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for the Scottish offshore region (12-200 nautical miles). In determining an application for a marine licence the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the need to protect the environment, protect human health, prevent interference with legitimate use of the sea and such other matters as the Scottish Ministers consider relevant.
As part of the marine licence application process, the applicant is required to notify the public of the application and MS-LOT consults with a wide range of statutory (Northern Lighthouse Board, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, NatureScot/Joint Nature Convention Committee, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and any regional Marine Planning Partnerships) and non-statutory stakeholders to give them an opportunity comment on the application.
No person may carry on a licensable marine activity, or cause or permit any other person to carry on such an activity, except in accordance with a marine licence granted by the Scottish Ministers. A person who carries on a licensable marine activity without a licence granted by the Scottish Ministers commits an offence.
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