Details of the current covid wastewater surveillance service and to see if this has been renewed? As far as I can see the programme ended in March 2022 [Screenshot of an announcement by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) showing an announcement made on 22 March 2021 outlining that the wastewater programme to monitor Covid-19 would continue for another year]… However the scotgov strategic framework clearly states on page 18 that “monitoring disease prevalence through appropriate testing and wastewater sampling must continue” - testing has all but been eroded, we must have transparent wastewater sampling data available to all in the community to allow everyone but especially those at greater jeopardy (CEV etc) to gauge their risk. [Screenshot of page 18 and part of 19 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework update - February 2022]
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.
The response to your request has been split into two parts. The first part covers the continuation of the Scottish Government’s wastewater surveillance programme for Covid-19 beyond March 2022. The second part gives information on where Scottish wastewater data for Covid-19 can be found online.
The answer to your question is that the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 wastewater surveillance programme will continue until the end of June 2022. Please note that budget considerations are ongoing and the programme may continue beyond that point.
In response to the latter part of your request, the information you have requested is available from a number of sources. You may it useful to look at the following online sources.
Publications - Public Health Scotland – Public Health Scotland’s Covid-19 Statistical Report
Coronavirus (COVID-19): state of the epidemic - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) – Scottish Government’s State of the Epidemic Report. Please note, this report is being discontinued after final publication on 10 June 2022. The data contained will be published via the above, Public Health Scotland’s Covid-19 Statistical Report.
RNA Monitoring (sepa.org.uk) – Scottish Environment Protection Agency Covid-19 RNA Dashboard.
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
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