Carbon levy contributions from Ministerial travel: EIR release

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

Information requested

1) An account of how much money has been raised by the carbon levy offsetting fund on Scottish Ministerial travel since it began.

2) A full account of the money made available and what has been spent from the carbon offsetting levy fund and where this has been used within the Scottish Government.


1) Carbon levy contributions from Ministerial travel
The answer to your question is the Scottish Government business travel carbon levy was introduced in 2006, business travel bookings from financial years 2005-6 and 2006-7 are no longer held by the Scottish Government, so the levy monies collected from Ministerial travel levy cannot be calculated. Money raised by the levy is not broken down by Ministerial and non Ministerial travel therefore we are unable to disaggregate the amount raised by Scottish Ministerial travel since it began.

The Scottish Government publishes information about Ministerial engagements, overseas travel, car journeys, domestic travel and gifts received from May 2016, under the following link:

The carbon emissions levy is applied to all journeys undertaken by air as follows:
Domestic – £5 per journey
European – £6 per journey
International – £15 per journey

2) A full account of the funds raised from the carbon levy and what has been spent.

The Scottish Government is only legally obliged to retain financial data for seven years, therefore a full accounting history of the carbon levy cannot be retained from 2006. Financial records of the carbon levy from 2015 to 2021 are recorded below:

Financial Year Income (£) Expenditure
2015/16 20,488 0
2016/17 153,857 22,074
2017/18 33,321 0
2018/19 36,595 222,187
2019/20 40,534 0
2020/21 558 0
TOTAL £285,353 £244,261

Due to the nature of the carbon levy fund, it is not possible to trace spending directly to projects, this is because the funding is transferred into larger spending accounts as a contribution to carbon reduction projects within the Scottish Government estate. The funds raised from the carbon levy have been applied to solar panel installation projects, LED lighting improvements and sustainable travel infrastructure.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because information on the amount raised by the carbon levy was routinely destroyed, in accordance with our standard records management practice, before the date of your request, and the amount raised each year is not broken down into Ministerial and non Ministerial travel.

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. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about Ministerial Travel, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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