Re Felling License Ref: FPA-7409
Please can you advise on any information Scottish Forestry holds regarding establishing the presence of badger setts in the above area of woodland, recently felled under license, and any mitigation activity that ensued?
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.
As part of the felling permission application process, the application form states that “You must give your reasons below for carrying out this work and any additional information that would help us consider your application, such as any constraints or sensitivities that you have planned for, particularly where you want the felling approval to go beyond 2 years. If you have selected thinning, you must provide us with the thinning prescription you intend to use”.
We use this requirement in the application process to establish the presence of environmental and other sensitivities on a site by site basis, which includes the presence of badger setts. This process is included in order to deliver the requirements of Forestry Practice Guide 9.
We nominally issue a felling permission for a period of 1 to 2 years, and because situations can change over time we add an additional requirement to the permission stating that those who are planning, permitting or carrying out forest operations or other activities in woodlands should be aware of their wildlife protection responsibilities, arising from the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
With regards to this permission at Cavers Castle, no evidence was submitted to us regarding the presence of active badger setts in the felling / thinning area. None of our statutory consultees (Nature Scot, Historic Environment Scotland, SEPA or the Local Authority) advised on the presence of active badger setts. The proposal was placed on our public register between 14th September 2020 and 12th October 2020 and we received no replies.
Scottish Forestry therefore holds no information indicating the presence of badger setts in the area of woodland in question.
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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