FOI reference: FOI/17/02036
Date received: 7 September 2017
Date responded: 8 September 2017
All herbicide usage data for Renfrewshire to cover the period 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2017.
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.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exception under section 11(2) (personal data of a third party) of EIR applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information.
An exception applies: Regulation 11(2) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1988.
This exception applies because the data we hold is for a sample of farms that is too small to provide information without being disclosive of information about individuals.
Very little data is held by the Scottish Government in relation to this request. We collect information about all pesticide use (which includes information about herbicides as well as other pesticides such as insecticides and fungicides) from a sample of Scottish farms each year in order to estimate total national use (https://www.sasa.gov.uk/pesticides/pesticide-usage) and data are not collected from all agricultural parishes. In relation to 2015, no information about herbicide use on vegetable crops was collected in Renfrewshire and no Renfrewshire farms were surveyed in the protected edible crop survey. In relation to 2016, for which the data is due to be published in October 2017, information about herbicide use on soft fruit crops was collected from one farm in Renfrewshire, and no Renfrewshire farms were surveyed in the arable crop survey. Data collection for pesticide use in 2017 (for grass and fodder crops, for vegetable crops and for protected edible crops) will commence in November 2017 and will be published in autumn 2018. The farms to be sampled for the 2017 surveys have not yet been selected.
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House