- 15 Dec 2021
Date received: 5 Oct 2021
Date responded: 12 Nov 2021
Under the Freedom of Information Act, I request copies of all electronic and written correspondence, including papers and minutes, relating to the above in respect of communications between:
(a) Highland Council (Officers and Members)
(b) Springfield Properties
(c) Fergus Ewing and other H&I MSPs
(d) Inverness Chamber of Commerce and Nairn BID
We sent an email on 08 October 2021 requesting clarification. Following our receipt of your clarification on 13 October 2021, it was confirmed that your request -
“I refer to your attached letter asking for a more defined set of parameters for my FOI dated 5 October, 2021. For clarity, the specific sections of the project I am interested in are the Nairn Bypass and the dualling of the A96 from Inverness to Nairn from 2020-present date. I do not require any technical or route information/specifications and already have access to all the material submitted to the Public Inquiry.
I am especially keen to view the following –
Communications of any kind between Highland Council, Highland Council Officers and local Nairn Ward Members and the Scottish Government. Communications of any kind between Springfield Properties Ltd and the Scottish Government. Communications of any kind between Fergus Ewing, MSP and Highland and Island MSPs and the Scottish Government”.
As all of 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.
“Communications of any kind between Highland Council, Highland Council Officers and local Nairn Ward Members and the Scottish Government”
In response to your request above, please refer to Annex A.
“Communications of any kind between Springfield Properties Ltd and the Scottish Government”
In response to your request above, please refer to Annex B.
“Communications of any kind between Fergus Ewing, MSP and Highland and Island MSPs and the Scottish Government”
In response to your request above, please refer to Annex C which contains submissions to the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson MSP and the Minister of Transport, Graeme Dey MSP.
We do not have any communications between Inverness Chamber of Commerce and Nairn BID in relation to your request.
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 regulation(s) 11(2) of the EIRs applies to that information.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) 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. This exception has been applied to Annex A – C contained within this response.
Please note a correspondence from Fergus Ewing MSP dated 01 February 2021 was subsequently withdrawn with no response to be issued. This was due to the announcement on 19 February by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, regarding the Scottish Ministers’ decision to give the go-ahead for completing the statutory procedures on the A96 Dualling Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) following consideration of the Public Local Inquiry Reporters’ Report. This has been previously released under FOI-202100157108 and can be viewed at the following link: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202100157108/
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House