Correspondence between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister Màiri McAllan MSP, Minister Patrick Harvey MSP, Minister Lorna Slater MSP regarding ‘farming’, ‘emissions’ and ‘climate change’ between 1 May 2021 and 22 December 2021. Correspondence can include emails, WhatsApp messages and letters.
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.
An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications), applies to some of the information you have requested because it is internal communication between Scottish Government Ministers about the development of the Vision for Agriculture.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on the Vision for Agriculture will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) (document under development) applies to the draft Vision for Agriculture, but this will be published shortly.
We do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format, and while these are not directly associated with your request the following is publicly available material and might be useful to you.
- Meeting of the Parliament: 23/11/2021 | Scottish Parliament Website
- A New Deal for Tenants - draft strategy: consultation - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
- Full Report | Climate Assembly
- Scotland's Climate Assembly - recommendations for action: SG response - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
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
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback