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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Salmon farming in Scotland: EIR release

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

Published:
7 Mar 2018
Salmon farming in Scotland: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00425
Date received: 10 February 2018
Date responded: 6 March 2018

Information requested

1. Information on the storage and transport of dead salmon since 1 January 2015.

2. Correspondence with the "three main salmon producers in Shetland" including proposals to set up a waste handling facility.

3. Information on how "each farming area will establish a macerating and ensiling point where fish waste can be processed" and to include details.

4. Information relating to how "the waste will be collected by a specialist waste carrying vessel and taken to Norway directly for disposal".

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 under section 39(2) of 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 into account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest test 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.

For point 1 of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under the exception at regulation 10(4)(b) of the EIRs a public authority may refuse a request for information if it is 'manifestly unreasonable'. This is substantially similar to your previous request which we complied with on 18 January 2017 (reference FoI/17/00148). In addition, the information we hold is the same as at the time of your previous request. We have also considered the circumstances and have concluded that there has been no significant change. For these reasons, we consider that your request is a repeat of your previous request and so it is manifestly unreasonable. Therefore, we are refusing it under regulation 10(4)(b).

As the exception is conditional we have applied the 'public interest test'. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, 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 information on the storage and transport of dead salmon since 1 January 2015, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring the efficient and effective use of public resources by not complying with an information request which is substantially similar to one which we have complied with previously.

For point 2 of your request I enclose a copy of the information you have 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 exemptions apply under:

Regulation 11(2) – Personal data relating to third party of the EIRs apply to that information.

The reasons why those exceptions apply are set out below.

For points 3 and 4 of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have 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.

Reasons for not providing information

An exception applies.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exception also applies under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested. This exception applies because the information is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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 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 Scottish Government does not hold any correspondence or data on this issue. 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 industry waste disposal plans, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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