Information about the rhododendron management/eradication: EIR release

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

Information requested

Information about the rhododendron management/eradication. Specifically:

  • I would like to know the amount of rhododendron cleared, preferably by hectare, across the country for each of the last three years?
  • Whether all of this work took place in the Scottish rainforest/Atlantic forests? And if not the breakdown between work in this area and work elsewhere?\
  • How many staff were engaged in this work each year?

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.


From the information/data that Scottish Forestry hold, please find below the area of rhododendron cleared in the last 3 years for which we have complete data.

Forestry Grant Scheme Funded Rhododendron Clearance (claimed areas)

Year Total (hectares)
2019/20 243.9
2020/21 205.4
2021/22 88.9
Total 538.1


  1. 2022/23 is not complete until the end of March 2023.
  2. Areas are claimed in hectares.
  3. Areas do not include figures for follow-up treatments, therefore correctly represent the total cleared area. The total area worked in each year is greater.

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 the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested.

The exception which applies is Regulation 10(4)(a), information not held. This exception applies because some of the information requested was not held by Scottish Forestry at the time of your request. This information is not held because:

On question 2 we do not digitise and collate this location data, and therefore cannot specify whether it took place within those areas you described and we do not hold summary data of other work in locations.

On question 3 we do not collect data on staff engaged, either as number or time with applications and therefore cannot supply this data.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI - 202300342711 - Annex A


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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