‘We have the following comments/questions:
1. Your covering letter explains that nine applications were received in total (to date) of which two were rejected due to incorrect paperwork. On this basis, we deduce that there are currently seven active applications for which you have provided a copy of the label provided by the applicant for five of them and we have not been provided with a label for two applications due to an alleged regulation 11(2) EIRs exception?
Assuming our interpretation above is correct, we cannot see how a classification label (which we originally authorised) could result in the discloser of personal information pertaining to the applicant who presented it to SASA. Therefore, we would be grateful if you could release copies of the remaining two labels as a matter of urgency.
2. Additionally, we would be grateful if you could let us know the date on which SASA received each of the seven labels/tubers/applications that have been accepted for propagation?
3. The attached label, from crop number 151851, was part of a consignment exported to the Canary Islands. The stitching holes running across the label are clear to see thus indicating that it was, at one stage, correctly attached to a 25kg jute bag. Obviously, SASA provided the requisite phytosanitary certificate for this consignment and we therefore struggle to understand how this label could have been exported to the Canary Islands whilst simultaneously being presented to and accepted by SASA for propagation? In our view, such a circumstance is illegitimate and we therefore request that SASA cease and desist all propagation pertaining to this label and accompanying tuber and destroy all existing material derived from it with immediate effect. We would be grateful if you could confirm that this action has been fulfilled.
4. In relation to the seven Rooster applications currently accepted by SASA for propagation, please could you provide the name of the company or business who submitted the label/tuber and is considered the applicant by SASA and which label they presented?”
5. "Are we correct in believing that to accept an application to propagate tissue culture from a tuber/classification originating out with the United Kingdom, SASA would require such material to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate? For example, you provided a copy of a ROI label (crop ID 21024961007); did SASA require this label and tuber be presented with a corresponding phytosanitary certificate? If this is the case, please could you provide a copy of the phyto?”
I have answered each of your questions below:
1. As this is a request to review the decision from request 202200293169 it has been passed to my colleague to review and respond.
2. SASA received the applications on 23 December 2021, 16 December 2021, 11 March 2022, 04 March 2022, 18 March 2022, 20 December 2021 and 21 March 2022.
3. We do not consider Question 3 to fall under the EIRs and we will respond to your question/comment separately.
4. An exception under Regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information) applies to all of the information you have requested in Question 4. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information to a competitor would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by the applicants and thus cause substantial harm to their commercial interests.
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 a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which request commercial services from SASA/Scottish Government.
5. An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information) applies to all of the information you have requested in Question 5 for the reason outlined above in response to Question 4.
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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