Please provide all correspondence between the Scottish Government and the companies of the GFG Alliance on the subject of the Kinlochleven hydro-electric plant. The correspondence can be limited to that to / from Ministers and that to/ from the Economic Development directorate.
Upon receipt of the response to this request you submitted the below request for review:
“I am requesting an internal review of this response to my freedom of information request on the basis that the information provided is incomplete and that the FOISA exemptions claimed do not apply.”
I have been asked to look at your request afresh, to decide whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications, as appropriate, or that a fresh decision should be substituted. I can confirm that I was not involved in the handling or decision-making around the original response. I have considered this case again, and I have conducted a comprehensive review of the response, and the reasons behind withholding the requested information. I have concluded that the original decision should be upheld with modifications. As such I feel more information can be released and I have provided this to you separately.
I have concluded that some information should be withheld under section 33(1)(b) – commercial interest – because if it was released it would negatively impact the business and potentially damage negotiations, day-to-day operations and other activity. Whilst the hydro-electric plant at Kinlochleven is not connected with the Scottish Government Guarantee at Lochaber, the Government owes a duty of care to the handling of commercially sensitive material particularly where such a release could negatively impact upon the wider global refinancing activities of the GFG Alliance. Given the importance of the business to the economy of the West Highlands and beyond, along with the interests of the employees who work there, I have determined that the public interest test lies in favour of withholding the information. This becomes even more important when events with external parties are still ongoing and in an effort to maintain a well-functioning working relationship with companies and external advisors. Although I have considered, and have taken into account, the public interest in transparency and accounting for how public money is being spent, it is not in the public interest to release information that would prejudice this and deprive the taxpayer of best value for money.
Regarding the use of section 38(1)(b) - Personal information - this exemption applies to the names and contact details of officials and equivalent third party representatives within the report. This exemption is not subject to the public interest test but I can confirm it has been applied correctly.
I can confirm that no other exemptions were applied to the information you requested in this instance and that all of the information provided to you is what is currently held by Scottish Government officials within the scope of your request.
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.
- File type
- 9 page PDF
- File size
- 1.5 MB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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