Any correspondence, briefing notes, memos or information relating to the return of giant pandas from Edinburgh Zoo to China.
Please include any correspondence with Chineses authorities, the UK government, the British Embassy in Beijing, FCDO, DEFRA and other organisations, including RZSS.
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.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. You will find this information in Annexe A.
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 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.
Some of the information you have requested is available from 8802EHC_V1.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk). Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
An exception under regulation 10(5)(a) International Relations of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. This applies as disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to substantially prejudice international relations, defence, national security or public safety. This exception applies because disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially relations between the United Kingdom, China, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. In this case, the information about the return of the Pandas to China was given to the Scottish Government on the understanding that it would be treated as being in confidence. If the Scottish Government does not respect this confidence, the UK Government’s relations with China and its ability to protect and promote UK interests could be substantially prejudiced.
An exemption under regulation 10(5)(f). Third party interests of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption applies as disclosure would, or be likely to, cause substantial prejudice to the interests of a person who provided information voluntarily 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 some public interest in release because of interest in Scottish Government correspondence relating to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the interests of third parties who provide information voluntarily to the Scottish Government are not prejudiced.
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
- 7 page PDF
- File size
- 250.5 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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