- 15 Dec 2017
FOI reference: FOI/17/02786
Date received: 16 November 2017
Date responded: 13 December 2017
a) A copy of any pre-meeting briefing; confirmation of all people in attendance at all meetings; agendas for all meetings; notes or minutes taken and/or action points decided during all meetings; and any post meeting briefings in relation to all meetings between any Scottish Government Minister(s) and any representative(s) from Friends of the Earth Scotland on the subject of Unconventional Oil and Gas also commonly referred to as fracking during the period between 1 January 2017 and 3 October 2017.
b) A list of dates, names of attendees and subject matter of all meetings between MSP's, Ministers and Scottish Government Officials and representatives of Friends of the Earth Scotland on the subject of Unconventional Oil and Gas (commonly referred to as fracking) in the period between 1 January 2017 and 3 October 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.
I can confirm that one meeting between Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and representatives from Friends of the Earth Scotland has taken place between 01 January and 03 October 2017. This meeting took place on 31 May 2017 at the Scottish Parliament. At the meeting, the Minister received petitions relating to the Scottish Government's public consultation on unconventional oil and gas, Talking "Fracking", which closed on 31 May.
I enclose a copy of advice given to the Minister by officials prior to this meeting. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.
The Scottish Government does not hold details of MSPs' meetings; however, you may wish to contact The Scottish Parliament, Horse Wynd, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP, who may be able to help you.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have the information.
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because the information you have requested relating to the meeting on 31 May 2017 was not held by the Scottish Government at the time of your request.
This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about this matter, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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