Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry

Suzanne Kelly made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Aberdeen Harbour Board
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority


This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Aberdeen Harbour Board,

Please advise, all from the time frame from the day the contract was awarded to Dragados to 30 June 2018:

Carbon footprint - has it been estimated or measured? Please advise what estimated carbon footprint of activities in the time frame are

Protected, endangerd species: Please list the species of animals that are protected or endangered at Bay of Nigg, at and in the harbour, and in Torry. Please advise what is being done to protect their habitat. Please advise how much land has been taken from the shore, from land for your project. Have any dead animals been found on your site(s)?

Oil/chemical spills: please list any and all spills that have occurred during the period, if reportable when reported and to what body.

Deepening the bay: What explosives were used / will be used - advise quantity. What was done, if anything, to protect wildlife during any blasting operations.

Rock: Rock was imported and dumped - for CO2 monitoring purposes, what was the quantity of the rock, and what do you estimate the CO2 footprint was for collecting, transporting and dumping the rock.

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Aberdeen Harbour Board,

I await your response to this request concerning Environmental matters, on a project paid for with public funds for which public access was sacrificed - thank you for expediting your supply of requested data.

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Aberdeen Harbour Board,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Aberdeen Harbour Board's handling of my FOI request 'Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry'.

It is now 24 hours since I telephoned your offices, and despite being assured someone would revert, I do not have the requested data and I have not had a call from you. This is unacceptable.

Complaint: 1. Failure to response to FOI request within time limit set by law; 2. Failure to provide requested data; 3. Failure to respond at all to request and to phonecall of 21/8.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Aberdeen Harbour Board,

I will take this to the Information Commissioner on Friday failing a full transcript of the internal review you should have held quite some time ago. I suggest you reply immediately.

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Dear Aberdeen Harbour Board,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
You ARE required to have held this internal review. I will take this to the Information Commissioner in ten days time failing a robust response.

I am writing to request an internal review of Aberdeen Harbour Board's handling of my FOI request 'Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry'.

you did not respond in a timely manner; your response was not full in its answers to my questions; and you failed to hold a review. The fact you are subject to FOI means you are accountable to querants and to the Information Commissioner.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Suzanne Kelly

Public Info Address, Aberdeen Harbour Board

Good morning

Please note your email has been passed to our environmental consultant
Katherine Holmes.

Regards

Vivien

Vivien Ross
Finance Department Secretary
T: 01224 597000
Aberdeen Harbour LinkedIn | Aberdeen Harbour Instagram
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Dear all

First, thank you to What Do They Know for allowing me to comment again on this very old, but still unfilled, request.

For reasons going against my expressed written wishes, the Harbour Board started communicating with me by email rather than via WDTK. I told AHB all correspondence should be here; it refused to comply.

I waited ages having explained to AHB that it was required to answer Environmental requests. AHB sent the an email asking me to 'clarify what an internal request is; over a year ago, to which I replied AHB would find all the guidance (if it didn't really already know) about how FOI/EIR requests and subsequent requests for internal review of handling of same were not for me to explain, but for the Information Commissioner's office to answer.
I considered the Harbour Board's answers extremely late and unsatisfactory due to incompleteness, failure to supply required information that was not in public domain.

By allowing me to open this thread, WTDK has allowed me to formally add the correspondence the Harbour Board sent me privately; the main pieces of which i feel should be here, as I had requested, and which are of interest to the public. They may also be useful in future investigations into how AHB fails to follow procedures re EIR requests.

I grant that one of my questions concerned personnel safety (use or lack thereof of safety equipment such as harnesses). AHB is not obliged to answer these questions, although with the huge amount of public money involved, it was hoped they would. The environmental questions were not answered to my satisfaction. The internal review of how my request was handled never happened - or if so, it was never shared with me.

I am going to check whether the Information Commissioner can help with this old request; however, a new request has been started. I will insist the questions are answered fully and in a timely manner, or I will request an internal review, advising the Information Commissioner's office of this previous request and AHB's claim not to understand what an internal review is.

Selection of email sent to my private email by AHB and a reply of mine with personal data removed:

Sent: Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:04
Subject: Internal review of Environmental Information Regulations request - Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry

Dear Ms. Kelly
Thank you for your most recent correspondence with Aberdeen Harbour Board.

Just to reiterate, we continue to reply to this correspondence directly, rather than through the ‘What Do They Know’ email system, that you refer to, on the basis that Aberdeen Harbour Board is not a public authority and is therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2002, nor the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
After our earlier response to your queries, we have reviewed your most recent email dated 19/03/2019, and as a response, we are still seeking clarity from you regarding your request for ‘an internal enquiry’. Aberdeen Harbour Board are unclear as to your meaning when you request an ‘internal enquiry’ as the requested information has already been made available by way of the answers provided to you on the 22nd August 2018.
Could you please clarify this request by providing further detail?
Yours sincerely
_____________________
from me to AHB
Sent: 05 September 2018 13:47

Subject: Re: Environmental Information Regulations request - Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry

Dear

I write on two points - to confirm I still want you to hold an internal inquiry. This should now, that I have your response, also include why your response covered notfiable spills - when I had not used the word notifiable - I am awaiting a list of all spills which occurred - which of course you should be keeping a log of.

Secondly - I am now in possession of videos of people working on scaffolding at height without harnesses or guardrails in place. Please send me, before 3pm on Friday - lines for publication about your working at height safety protocol in particular and your safety regimen in general.

Yours sincerely

Suzanne Kelly

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wed, 22 Aug 2018 15:44
Subject: FW: Environmental Information Regulations request - Environmental impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry
Dear Ms Kelly

Thank you for your recent email, and your interest in the Aberdeen Harbour Board Expansion Project.

With regard to the queries you raised in your email, please see find our responses below.

Please advise, all from the time frame from the day the contract was awarded to Dragados to 30 June 2018:

Q: Carbon footprint - has it been estimated or measured? Please advise what estimated carbon footprint of activities in the time frame are.

A: Carbon footprint has not been measured. Chapter 19 of the Environmental Statement considers the effects of the project on air quality, a copy of which is available on AHB’s and Marine Scotland’s website.

Q: Protected, endangered species: Please list the species of animals that are protected or endangered at Bay of Nigg, at and in the harbour, and in Torry. Please advise what is being done to protect their habitat. Please advise how much land has been taken from the shore, from land for your project. Have any dead animals been found on your site(s)?

A: The Environmental Statement shows the land boundaries of the site, and considers the effects of the project on protected species. The Construction Environmental Management Document describes the measures in place to protect their habitat, a copy of which is available on AHB’s and Marine Scotland’s website.

Q: Oil/chemical spills: please list any and all spills that have occurred during the period, if reportable when reported and to what body.

A: There have been no reportable oil or chemical spills in the period.

Q: Deepening the bay: What explosives were used / will be used - advise quantity. What was done, if anything, to protect wildlife during any blasting operations.

A: The Environmental Statement considers the effects of using explosives to fracture rock. The Construction Environmental Management Document describes the measures in place to protect wildlife during blasting operations.

Q: Rock: Rock was imported and dumped - for CO2 monitoring purposes, what was the quantity of the rock, and what do you estimate the CO2 footprint was for collecting, transporting and dumping the rock.

A: There is no requirement to monitor CO2 for rock imports.

Q: Please advise how much rock was dumped, coordinates it was dumped, and whether any rock / materials dredged up was dumped at sea or reclaimed, specifying type of material and tonnage and dates.

A: The volume and location of dredged material disposed at sea is specified in the Dredging Marine Licence, a copy of which is available on Marine Scotland’s website.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Chris Bain, Aberdeen Harbour Board

1 Attachment

 

Dear Ms Kelly

 

INFORMATION REQUEST

 

We refer to the information request you issued under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 on 4 July 2020.

We are considering your request but due to the current COVID-19 pandemic,
we will not be in a position to respond to your request within 20 working
days. We are a small organisation and have diverted our resources to
maintaining our key service during the recent lockdown.

We anticipate that we will be in a position to respond to you by 1
September. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

 

Yours sincerely

Chris Bain

on behalf of Aberdeen Harbour Board

 

 

Chris Bain

External Relations Director

 

01224 597000

 

 

 

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Dear Chris Bain,

Thank you for your message. You may be 'a small organisation' but you are one managing a multi-million pound development in the green belt. Did you check with the Information Commissioner's office to see if such a delay - ie to 1 September - fits within their allowable guidelines?

There seems to be some misunderstanding between what documents were filed ahead of the project and my request for the actual, during and post project data. Are you saying that everything contained in the various reports you cite in your answers matches precisely to what has and is actually happening? If that is your position, and that no deviations whatsoever have been noted, occurred, please state as much.

I comment as follows:

Q: Protected, endangered species: Please list the species of animals that are protected or endangered at Bay of Nigg, at and in the harbour, and in Torry. Please advise what is being done to protect their habitat. Please advise how much land has been taken from the shore, from land for your project. Have any dead animals been found on your site(s)?

A: The Environmental Statement shows the land boundaries of the site, and considers the effects of the project on protected species. The Construction Environmental Management Document describes the measures in place to protect their habitat, a copy of which is available on AHB’s and Marine Scotland’s website. COMMENT: When birds and marine mammals, area wildlife have been found dead on or near the site of Dragados' operations, did such deaths occur because of failure to implement the protective measures? I want to know how much land has been taken from the shore as well. You did not mention anything about animals being found dead - please answer.

Q: Oil/chemical spills: please list any and all spills that have occurred during the period, if reportable when reported and to what body.

A: There have been no reportable oil or chemical spills in the period.

Q: Deepening the bay: What explosives were used / will be used - advise quantity. What was done, if anything, to protect wildlife during any blasting operations.

A: The Environmental Statement considers the effects of using explosives to fracture rock. The Construction Environmental Management Document describes the measures in place to protect wildlife during blasting operations. COMMENT: I want the data, thank you: show me what explosives were used in what quantity, and what your mitigation for wildlife was specific to your activities.

Q: Please advise how much rock was dumped, coordinates it was dumped, and whether any rock / materials dredged up was dumped at sea or reclaimed, specifying type of material and tonnage and dates.

A: The volume and location of dredged material disposed at sea is specified in the Dredging Marine Licence, a copy of which is available on Marine Scotland’s website. COMMENT: are you saying that this was adhered to 100%? Was there no deviation at all? As to dredging, please answer the question on what type of material, tonnage and dates.

The project has gone into shutdown; there have been incidents that I have been made aware of, and reliance on documents and permits created/filed before the work started may not match up to the actuality. That is why I am not asking for documents filed and permits received, but for data on what actually happened.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Chris Bain, Aberdeen Harbour Board

1 Attachment

Dear Ms. Kelly

We note your further information request of 21 July 2020 which we will
consider and respond to as soon as possible. However, as with your request
of 4 July 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic our response may be slightly
delayed.

With Best Regards
Chris Bain

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Chris Bain, Aberdeen Harbour Board

4 Attachments

Dear Ms Kelly

Please find attached our response to your request for environmental
information associated with the AHEP Project under the Environmental
Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

With Kind Regards

Chris Bain

 

Chris Bain

External Relations Director

 

01224 597000

 

 

 

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Dear Chris Bain,

Thank you for your response answering some of my questions. I am now asking you to hold an internal review to examine how my request was handled. I am not satisfied on the following points, which should be covered in your internal review. If your organisation is not certain how to handle this review or what its legal responsibilities are, the Information Commissioner's office can help you.

I would like your review to cover these points, which if I am not satisfied with the outcome of your internal review I will take to the Information Commissioner:
1. lateness of response
2. My Question 2 - "2. Supply minutes of any meetings that pertain to environmental impacts on wildlife, land, marine life, air quality." - I commend AHB and Dragados on having over 200 meetings at which the environment was mentioned since the project started in April 2017 - and Dragados left in June 2020. That's 38 months, so you held approximately 5.25 meetings each month which fit my specific remit; I am impressed. However, you should be keeping all of these meetings electronically, and if you used my search terms - environmental impacts wildlife, land, marine life, air quality- would that not narrow down the number of meetings that fit my question? Doing such a search electronically should not be arduous. As to your point that these minutes will contain 'commercially confidential' information - your contractor left, the job is now in another contractor's hands, and £350,000,000 of public money is tied up in this debacle: I would counter that while you are only obliged to disclose environmental information to the public, there should be no sensitivity concerning a project where the award was made in the past - there is precedent with the IC's office for my position, transparency must apply to this project, and the public have a right to know how their money was used on a project that saw its lead contractor bow out. I do not agree with the man hours you suggested would be required to perform an electronic search even if you redacted information you did not want to disclose.

I will for the present take up your suggestion and limit my search term on this question: please electronically search your minutes and your action log for the year 2019, using the search terms above and you can now include 'Marine Mammal Team'.

3. Per my "5. Supply a list of any individuals harmed by environmental y hazardous chemical use concerning the project" I am glad no one was harmed by chemicals, even if one IP had been transported to a hospital with injuries in the past. I would though have thought it went without saying I was not asking for their personal data; if any had been harmed, I would have expected you to list them anonymously and say what their injuries were. - no action required, just clarifying what my request meant.

4. My question 7 and your response: SK: "7. Supply any minutes in which St Fittick's/any green areas in Aberdeen are identified as being needed by the harbour board for the project."
AHB Answer: "Al project land boundaries are detailed in the AHEP Planning Permission in Principle Application, which can be found on the Aberdeen Harbour Board Website at http://www.aberdeenharbour.
co.uk/south-harbour-development/environmental-mitigation/2016-documents/. There have been no deviations from these agreed boundaries, and no reference has been made in project meetings to extending these boundaries. The total beach and foreshore areas used by the project is 8.7 hectares."

I had not asked whether there were deviations; I asked to see any minutes in which St Fittick's/any green areas in Aberdeen are identified as being needed by the HB. If St Fittick's or any green field are mentioned in your minutes as being of interest to the HB's plans, I require sight of these. St Fittick's being a rather unique search term, I imagine these could be found with ease, but if you need a date range, please use from January 2019 to the present.

Thank you in advance for holding this internal review and supplying your responses.

Suzanne Kelly

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Malcolm Brown, Aberdeen Harbour Board

2 Attachments

Dear Suzanne Kelly,

 

 

With regards to your email dated 02 September 2020, subject,  Internal
review of Environmental Information Regulations request - Environmental
impact of Dragados' / contractors' work at Bay of Nigg and Torry.

 

Please find attached a copy of the internal review.

 

 

Best Regards,

 

Malcolm Brown

Head of Compliance

 

T: 01224 597000

M: 07534 957747

 

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Dear Malcolm Brown,

Thank you for your correspondence, which leads to many questions which I will address soon.

However one pressing issue arises. Under Internal Review Findings, at Item 3 you write: "3. With regards to project funding, Aberdeen South Harbour is a privately funded project."

I am talking about the publicly-funded Aberdeen Harbour expansion at Bay of Nigg to which the taxpayer has already spent £350,000,000 on https://news.gov.scot/news/aberdeen-harb... : what precisely are you saying is privately funded ?

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne Kelly

Malcolm Brown, Aberdeen Harbour Board

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Kelly

 

Thank you for your email dated 8 October 2020.

 

As set out in my email, the scope of my internal review is limited to
considering your original request and Aberdeen Harbour’s response to it
which I have now done, and I have provided a full response to you. If you
are unhappy with the outcome of this review, you have the right to appeal
to the Scottish Information Commissioner within six months of receiving
this response.  You can contact the Commissioner at: The Scottish
Information Commissioner Kilburn Castle Doubletakes Road St Andrews Fife
KY16 9DS or by email: [1][email address].  

 

Additionally, I would note that you have sought a request for an
explanation from us in relation to funding. While noting that the scope of
the internal review is strictly limited to considering your original
request and our response to it, I would also point out that our disclosure
obligations in relation to the EIR relates to recorded information held by
the Aberdeen Harbour, not to answering requests for explanations. However,
in the interests of transparency, I would point you to the considerable
level of detail on our website in relation to the funding of our projects.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Malcolm Brown

Head of Compliance

 

T: 01224 597000

M: 07534 957747

 

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