Information

Correspondence regarding pandas in Edinburgh Zoo: EIR release

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


Information requested

"Correspondence and information including but not limited to documents, reports, calls logged, notes of meetings and emails between Scottish Government and Edinburgh Zoo/RZSS in relation to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, and especially in regards to plans when the lease for the pandas ends in 2023,” between 01/10/2021 and 08/09/2022.

Response

I attach a copy of most of the information you requested.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception(s) under regulation(s) Regulation 10(5)(a) (International Relations) of the EIRs applies to that information. This exemption applies where the disclosure of information would, or would likely cause, prejudice to international relations.

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 exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in the effective conduct of international relations.

An exception under regulation 10(5)(f) of EIRS applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of an organisation that has voluntarily provided that information to the Scottish Government.

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 public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of an organisation or company which voluntarily provided information which is particularly sensitive at the present time.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you requested. This exception applies because this refers to draft EIR documents in the process of completion.

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 to provide transparency around the EIR process. However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring the confidentiality of withheld material and protecting deliberations around the EIR process.

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.

FOI 202200319599 - Information Released - Annex

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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