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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Carbon balance of wind farms on Scottish peatland: EIR release

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

Published:
21 Dec 2017
Carbon balance of wind farms on Scottish peatland: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/17/02773
Date received: 16 November 2017
Date responded: 19 December 2017

Information requested

I would like to request information about the carbon balance of wind farms on Scottish peatland. This should include the central database that has been compiled from the carbon calculator tool, which "compares the carbon costs of wind farm developments with the carbon savings attributable to the wind farm". I would argue that this information should already be in the public domain in any case and there is certainly a clear public interest in releasing the database, especially given the huge importance of onshore wind in Scotland's energy mix.

Response

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 the information you requested. The database contains five sheets, with the 'chart' sheet displaying the total savings and net emissions of all section 36 applications to have used the tool. The 'chart' sheet has been created to present the collated data in a way that makes sense. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are currently developing a reporting tool that aims to simplify this information in future.

The information contained in the database is already in the public domain, albeit not collated into a single database. Each section 36 application to have used the tool has a unique carbon calculator reference number displayed in the applications Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report. With this reference number, anyone can access the data for the wind farm.

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