Information

Correspondence concerning Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA): EIR release

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


Information requested

1) Written documentation or correspondence shared between Scottish ministers or Scottish government officials concerning the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA).

2) Written documentation or correspondence shared between Scottish ministers or Scottish government officials and BOGA member ministers or officials (e.g. Denmark, Costa Rica, Quebec) concerning BOGA.

3) Written documentation or correspondence shared between Scottish ministers or Scottish government officials and the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance itself as an organisation.

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.

Attached is a copy of most of the information requested. 

I can confirm that the Scottish Government does hold information in scope of your request, in relation to Point (1) and 2) of the request. However no information is held related to Point 3 of your request, under the Regulation 10(4)(a) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) allows public authorities to refuse to make environmental information available if they don't hold the information when the request is received.

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.

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 under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications) of the EIRs applies to that information. Regulation 10(4)(e): permits the withholding of information if its publication would involve the disclosure of internal communications. This is a qualified exception, which requires the Scottish Government to consider carefully the balance of the public interest in publishing this information.

The Scottish Government considers that disclosure of this information would be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation. There is a strong public interest in protecting the space Ministers and officials have to consider and discuss options, to ensure that full and proper consideration to policy is given. The candour of contributions to this process would be likely to be affected by officials’ assessment of whether the content of such discussion would be disclosed in the near future. This would have a negative impact on the quality of decision making, which is clearly not in the public interest. For these reasons, we consider that the public interest in withholding this information outweighs the public interest in release.

It should be noted that the two pdf documents relating to the BOGA Concept Note and Declaration (documents 7B and 7C) were not final versions and that updated information on the Alliance can be found on https://beyondoilandgasalliance.com/. I would like to highlight that in terms of document 8 'OCEA - BOGA October' document, since this document was created there has been an update on some of the factual information contained within the document leading to some of the figures now being out of date. The estimate for the total level of employment supported by the oil and gas industry and supply chain in Scotland is 71,500 in 2021. This is to update the previous estimate of 101,400 jobs in the BOGA October note.

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.

FOI202100254364 - Information released

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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