Woodland creation figures 2023: EIR release

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

Information requested

The breakdown of the 13,111ha of approved Woodland Creation by Scottish Forestry in 2023 (up to 12th December) as quoted in the news release here: https://forestry.gov.scot/news-releases/woodland-scheme-approvals-highest-this-century.

It would be most helpful if you can provide the information in an Excel worksheet under the following headings:

1. FGS contract Reference.

2. Site(project) Name.

3. Area – broken down by:

  • Contract total hectares.
  • By grant Option in hectares.
  • Open Ground (by Option) in hectares.

4. Date Contact was issued to the Applicant.

5. Date Contract was signed by Applicant.

6. Date of Authority to Start Works letter was issued.


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.

Please find attached some of the information we hold in relation to your request. The data in the spreadsheet covers your requests 1 through 3b and was exported on 13th December 2023 in order to cover all data from 12th December.

Please note that as the data is drawn from the live data set, the total hectarage (13,290ha) varies slightly from the 13,111ha quoted in the news release.

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 10(4)(b) (Manifestly unreasonable requests) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested, due to the high number of records covered by your request and therefore the high burden of collating and presenting the information.
Specifically, the requested open ground information and contract dates (your requests 3c through 6) are not collated by our computer systems and can therefore only be compiled by accessing each individual case record. We estimate this would take at minimum 65 hours of staff time, or over eight days of staff time at a standard 37.5 hours per week. We consider that this would represent a significant negative impact on our ability to deliver our statutory responsibilities.

For more information on the application of this exception, please see Annex A below.

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.

EIR 202300390250 - Information Released - Annex A
EIR 202300390250 - Information Released - Annex B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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