Hydrogen economy - EIR release
- External Affairs Directorate
- Part of
- Public sector
Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
All briefing documents prepared for the meeting between Minister Ivan McKee and Minister Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut of Baden-Württemberg on 28 November 2022, all minutes/notes/MoUs arising from the meeting. On 6 January 2023, I sought clarification that the information you were looking for was specifically that which refers to renewable energy, which you confirmed on 6 January 2023.
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.
I attach a copy of the information you requested. Some of the information has been redacted because exceptions under regulations 10(4)(e) (internal communications), 10(5)(a) (prejudice to international relations) and 11(2) (personal information) of the EIRs apply to that information.
Regulation 10(4)(e) - Internal communications
An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal communications) applies to some of the information you have requested because it relates to internal communications between Scottish Government and UK Government officials about hydrogen regulations.
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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on hydrogen regulations will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that issue while it is still under discussion and development.
Regulation 10(5)(a) – International relations
An exception under regulation 10(5)(a) of the EIRs (prejudice to international relations, defence, national security or public safety) applies to some of the information requested because disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the United Kingdom and Germany. The effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between the UK Government and other states. In this case, disclosing information about UK/German engagement on renewables would substantially prejudice relations between the UK and Germany because there is a need to maintain confidential dialogue in order to ensure that future engagement can take place in a spirit of trust and openness.
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, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the UK Government is able to maintain good relations with other states, in order to protect and promote UK interests. There can be no public interest in jeopardising those relations by the Scottish Government disclosing this information.
Regulation 11(2) – Personal data
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of 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.
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
- 16 page PDF
- File size
- 737.7 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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