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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route: meeting notes: EIR release

Published: 6 Jun 2018
Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
Published:
6 Jun 2018
Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route: meeting notes: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01079
Date received: 5 April 2018
Date responded: 30 May 2018

Information requested

'May I request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act of 2002, details of any meetings or correspondence between Transport Scotland and Mr Andrew Jackson/Mr Phil Kolon, between 01 January 2017 and 18 January 2018.

May I also request whether Transport Scotland holds records of any management meetings with external parties regarding the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route for the dates, June 2017 - January 2018. If such meetings were held, may I also request that minutes of such meetings are disclosed.'

'The request for records of management meetings with "external parties" was clarified to mean "any of the three contractors involved - which are Kier, Galliford Try and Carillion. And/or the joint venture they formed to do the project - which is called Aberdeen Roads Limited.'

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.

1. Between 01 January 2017 and 18 January 2018, two meetings took place between Transport Scotland (TA) and Phil Kolon. These meetings were held on 25 October 2017 and 7 November 2017, to explore opportunities to bring forward the opening of sections of new road in advance of final opening. No minutes were taken for these meetings. No meetings were held between TS and Andrew Jackson during this time period.

An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information) applies to correspondence between TS and the individuals mentioned above. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by ARL, and thus cause substantial harm to its commercial interests. Release of this information is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Scottish Ministers in light of the commercial deal in place with ARL for the delivery of the project and would, or would likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by ARL. Disclosure of this information may give advantages to competitors in future similar tendering exercises.

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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

2. Regular management meetings are held between TS and Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL), between June 2017 and January 2018 seven meetings were minuted. Please find attached copies of these minutes.

Reasons for not providing information

An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information) applies to some of the information held in these minutes. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by ARL, and thus cause substantial harm to its commercial interests. Release of this information is likely to prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Scottish Ministers in light of the commercial deal in place with ARL for the delivery of the project and would, or would likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by ARL. Disclosure of this information may give advantages to competitors in future similar tendering exercises.

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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which enter into Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

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