Information

Communications relating to hydro firms since January 2022: FOI release

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


Information requested

Any communications, emails, messages or notes relating to or mentioning the below topics since January 2022:

  • The article on hydro firms which features in The Sunday Times on 6 February 2022
  • Ardtornish Hydro

You requested all relevant information including but not exclusively held in: email, internal messaging, teams messaging, hardcopy, letter, file, report, graphic, publication, hand written notes, typed notes, minutes, transcript, website and social media.

Response

While the aim of the Scottish Government is to provide information wherever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to data that is considered to be the personal data of a third party. Therefore, in the documents that fall within the scope of your request, I have redacted names and personal information.

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 are unable to provide some of the information, under the terms of your request because an exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to that information. An exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information under the terms of your request, where the contents are considered to be advice to Ministers.

We recognise that there is a public interest test in disclosing information as part of an open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in maintaining a private space within which policy positions can be explored and understood by Ministers. 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, for some of the information contained within the documents under the terms of your request, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. The basis for this is the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to ministers. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice would substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future. Some of the information you have requested is available from the gov.scot website. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. 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.

I have attached a PDF attachment of the documents that fall within the scope of your request.

Table of Documents

4 February 2022

Document 1
Email chain

4 February 2022

Document 2
Email chain

4 February 2022

Document 3
Email chain

8 February 2022

Document 4
Email chain and attached letter

8 February 2022

Document 5
Email chain

9 February 2022

Document 6
Email chain

11 February 2022

Document 7
Email chain

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.

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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