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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Glasgow Prestwick Airport meeting notes and briefing papers: FOI release

Published: 26 Oct 2017

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02116
Date received: 5 September 2017
Date responded: 20 October 2017

Information requested

2) Please release every document cited in the "extract document" in full. It is impossible to understand the wider context or significance of the partial disclosures you have made without seeing the full documents, or to judge whether you have fully disclosed relevant information.

I am not satisfied that the extract document provides a full and accurate release of all documents and material which mentions Trump Turnberry and the Trump Organization, and its executives, and GPA or the Prestwick space port.

It is very unusual to release partial extracts.

For instance, you offer an "Extract from briefing to the Minister for Transport and the Islands 'Glasgow Prestwick Airport – Transport Scotland meeting – 9 June 2016 – note and presentation slides' – dated 7 June 2016" which appears to be:

The Trump organisation also base a helicopter at the airport and Trump's aircraft are handled by Prestwick FBO when he is in Scotland.

Yet you have not made clear whether that extract is the only reference in either the notes or presentation slides. As above, I request that both these documents (the notes and slides) are released in full.

5) There is an email from Gary Cox at Transport Scotland date 9 June 2015 to Iain Cochrane at GPA on a briefing paper he was preparing for Keith Brown for a Scottish parliament committee meeting on 17 June 2015 – please provide that briefing paper.

That email also states "there is much we can recycle from last time". If that is a reference to another briefing paper for a minister on Prestwick which mentions Donald Trump, Trump Turnberry or the Trump Organization, please release it.

Response

In regard to your first request for the release of every document cited in the extract document, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of releasing every document referred to within the extract document would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to provide these full documents would take a considerable amount of time exceeding the £600 threshold. The extract document was designed to provide you with the information from those documents that was within the scope of your request, if the full documents had been provided the remainder of these documents would have been redacted as the information was outwith the scope of the request. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could specify the subject matter(s) of the correspondence you are interested in. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on her website at: Tips for requesting information

In relation to your request for the release of the note and presentation of the 9 June 2016, along with the release of the briefing referred to for the meeting of 17 June 2015 I enclose a copy of some of the information that you requested. 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 exemption under sections s.30(b)(ii) Free and frank exchange of views, s.33(1)(b) Commercial interests or s.38(1)(b) Personal data relating to third party of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

Exemptions under section s.30(b)(ii) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested as it involves frank discussions in relation to the development of potential future aspects of the airport. 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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release because there is in an interest in the discussions around the opportunities open to the airport. However, this is outweighed by the public interest that it could be damaging to the airport's plans if this information was released given these opportunities are still being discussed and explored. Disclosure of this information could hamper efforts to return the company to profitability.

Exemptions under sections s.33(1)(b) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested as it relates to the commercial aspects of Glasgow Prestwick Airport. 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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as the public will wish to know how the airport intends to continually improve its performance and what steps have been discussed. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing the airport the space to compete in what is a very competitive industry. Releasing this commercial information would put the airport at a disadvantage to its competitors.

Exemptions under sections s.38(1)(b) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested as it relates to personal data. This exemption 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 exemption.

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

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
26 Oct 2017
Glasgow Prestwick Airport meeting notes and briefing papers: FOI release