Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence with UK Government regarding the establishment of freeports or green ports: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
18 Nov 2021
Correspondence with UK Government regarding the establishment of freeports or green ports: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100244596
Date received: 4 Oct 2021
Date responded: 2 Nov 2021
Information requested

All correspondence with the UK Government regarding the establishment of freeports or green ports.

Response

As the information you have requested under the Freedom for Information Act (FOISA) we are required to deal with your request under those regulations. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested under a section of FOISA. Further information on this section can be found in the annex. However, the information you have requested that we do hold, and falls within the scope of your request, has been attached separately. Please note that some of the information you have requested is publically available online. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, the Scottish Government is not obligated to provide to you information that is already reasonably accessible to you.

ANNEX
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

Section 28(1) – relations within the UK [in relation to communications between the SG and another UK administration]

An exemption under section 28(1) of FOISA (relations within the UK) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. It is essential for the effective administration of the UK as a whole that there should be regular, and often private, communications between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the other devolved administrations. The release of these communications about Greenports and Freeports will mean that the UK Government is likely to be more reluctant to share such information with the Scottish Government in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications between the Scottish Government and other UK administrations.

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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in maintaining good relations between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, and in protecting the free exchange of information between the administrations to ensure that we keep each other fully and regularly informed about matters of mutual interest, such as Greenports and Freeports. There is no public interest in disclosing information when that will damage relationships and disrupt future communications.

About FOI
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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