Dear Falkirk Council,
Could you please furnish me with details of all correspondence between:-
(I.)Keith Brown, MSP (Clackmannanshire & Dunblane) and Falkirk Council regarding a possible rail station at Bonnybridge.
(II.) Michael Matheson, MSP (Falkirk West) and Falkirk Council regarding a possible rail station at Bonnybridge.
Dates from June 01, 2011 through to August 01, 2011 please.
Dear Mr Shanks,
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Request
Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004
I refer to your email dated 11 August 2011. This requests information
under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOI Act).
I have considered your request under the FOI Act. Under section 39(2)(a)
of the FOI Act, information is exempt from disclosure if a Scottish Public
Authority is obliged to release that information under the Environmental
Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs). The EIRs set out a
separate regime for access by the public to environmental information, and
the Scottish Information Commissioner encourages authorities to deal with
requests for environmental information under the EIRs rather than the FOI
Act. I consider that your request as it relates to transport planning
matters is a request for environmental information.
The section 39(2)(a) exemption under the FOI Act is not an absolute one
but is subject to the public interest test. In other words, even though
the exemption is available to the Council, it still has to consider
whether there is a greater public interest in not applying the exemption
and releasing the requested information under the FOI Act. As there is a
separate statutory right of access to environmental information, then in
my view the public interest in maintaining the exemption and allowing
access in line with the requirements of the EIRs outweighs the public
interest in disclosure of the information under the FOI Act.
I appreciate that from your point of view this is a technical distinction
and certainly the interaction between the FOI Act and the EIRs is
complicated. However, the end result is that, although I am refusing your
request under the FOI Act, I am dealing with it under the EIRs.
In response to your request I can confirm that Falkirk Councils Transport
Planning Unit has received no correspondence from either (i) Keith Brown
or (ii) Michael Matheson in relation to a possible railway station at
Bonnybridge between the dates 1 June 2011 and 1 August 2011 listed on your
Please refer to the enclosed leaflet which explains your right to complain
about the handling of your case and/or the decision made.
Transport Planning Co-ordinator
Tel: 01324 504728
Fax: 01324 504914