Hemp Imports

Autism Action Group Suffolk made this Freedom of Information request to Rural Payments Agency

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

The request was partially successful.

Autism Action Group Suffolk

Dear Rural Payments Agency,

Recently I made a request regarding the amount of hemp imported into the U.K. from outside the EU. Your reference for this request was RFI 5444.

This request was dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

I am making this new request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

1. Please can you provide all the data you hold on hemp imports of True Hemp under the heading 53021000, itemised into individual importers and the amount imported by each licensee per year (or 9 month period as I believe licences are issued for this period) for the last 5 years. I understand that personal information will need to be redacted in accordance with data protection laws but please provide all non-sensitive data such as trader numbers used to identify the individual importers which will still provide anonymity.

2. Please can you also provide all information that you hold with regards to imports of true hemp between member states of the European Union.

Yours faithfully,

E. Margiotta.

Information Rights Team, RPA, Rural Payments Agency

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 1.jpg

    3K Download

20 May 2020
Our ref: RFI 5469
 
Dear Sir or Madam,
 
Environmental Information Regulations – Advice & Assistance
       
Thank you for your request for information on 17 May, which is being
considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
 
You have asked for:
 

 1. The amount of true hemp imported to the UK by each licensed importer
in each of the last five years.
 1. All the information we hold with regards to imports of true hemp
between EU member states.

 
From our preliminary assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to
answer your request without further clarification. Regulation 9 of EIR
requires public authorities to provide advice and assistance to applicants
where reasonable.
 
What you need to do
Please could you provide clarity on what you mean by ‘all the information
we hold’ with regards to import of true hemp between EU member states. For
example can you advise whether you are wanting amounts (and if so, if you
want it broken down by trader as for UK data), or whether you require
other information such as regulations, agreements etc. Please can you also
provide us with a date range (e.g. 2015-2019) for this part of your
request.
 
We suggest that you provide clarity on exactly what is meant by as above
so we can refine our search and consider what recorded (held) information
is relevant to your request.
 
Once we have received the above information, we will be able to proceed
with your request and advise whether we can provide the information.
Please note that the 20 working day timescale for responding to your
request will commence from the date that we receive the clarification.
 
If you need further information
If you have any questions about this email, you can contact us by email
[1][Rural Payments Agency request email].
 
You can find more information on how we handle personal data in our
[2]Personal information charter and [3]RPA Privacy Notices on [4]GOV.UK.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Information Rights Team
Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF
Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [5][email address]
Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay
 

About this email
This email has been sent to you because the email address has been
provided to us. If you no longer wish to be contacted electronically,
please let us know. If you have done this recently please allow for this
to take effect. 
 
Security 
Please be on your guard against emails that request any of your security
details. We will never ask you by email to enter (or record) these
details. If you receive an email like this, you should not respond.
 
Legal
This email message is confidential and for use by the addressee only. If
the message is received by anyone other than the addressee, please delete
it from your computer. 
 
The Rural Payments Agency does not accept responsibility for changes made
to this message after it was sent. 
While all reasonable care has been taken to avoid the transmission of
viruses, it is your responsibility to ensure that onward transmission,
opening or use of this message and any attachments will not adversely
affect your systems or data. No responsibility is accepted by the Rural
Payments Agency in this regard and you should carry out appropriate virus
and other checks.

 
 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Rural Payments Agency request email]
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rpa-privacy-...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
5. mailto:[email address]

Autism Action Group Suffolk

Dear Information Rights Team, RPA,

I am making this new request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

1. Please can you provide all the data you hold on hemp imports of True Hemp under the heading 53021000, itemised into individual importers and the amount imported by each licensee per year (or 9 month period as I believe licences are issued for this period) for the last 5 years (2015-2020). I understand that personal information will need to be redacted in accordance with data protection laws but please provide all non-sensitive data such as trader numbers used to identify the individual importers which will still provide anonymity.

2. Please can you also provide all information that you hold with regards to imports of raw true hemp (data on seeds not required) between member states of the European Union. For example trader numbers, and amounts imported, country origin and any regulations or agreements relevant to these imports and any other information that you hold in regards to these imports such as internal memorandums or internal emails and licence requirements regarding this type of import. The trader information and amounts imported can be time limited to the last 5 years (2015-2020) but any other information outside of this timeframe relevant to these imports would be helpful please.

Yours faithfully,

E. Margiotta.

Information Rights Team, RPA, Rural Payments Agency

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Picture Device Independent Bitmap 1.jpg

    3K Download

 
 
28 May 2020
Our ref: RFI 5479
 
 
Dear E. Margiotta,
 
Environmental Information Regulations – Acknowledgment
       
Thank you for your email of 25 May which is being considered under the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
 
You have asked for information relating to the import of true hemp.
 
Please note that if our search returns any information which relates to a
third party, we may write to them to inform them of the request and ask
whether they have any objections to the disclosure of their information,
particularly as disclosures made under EIR are publically available.
 
Before we proceed, please can you advise us if you have any objections to
this or if you are content with us to proceed with this course of action?
 
To advise; we do not disclose your details to the third party, just the
details of the information requested.
 
We normally expect to respond to requests within 20 working days.
 
If you need further information
If you have any questions about this email, you can contact us by email
[1][Rural Payments Agency request email].
 
You can find more information on how we handle personal data in our
[2]Personal Information Charter and [3]RPA Privacy notices on [4]GOV.UK
 
Yours sincerely
 
Information Rights Team

About this email
This email has been sent to you because the email address has been
provided to us. If you no longer wish to be contacted electronically,
please let us know. If you have done this recently please allow for this
to take effect. 
 
Security 
Please be on your guard against emails that request any of your security
details. We will never ask you by email to enter (or record) these
details. If you receive an email like this, you should not respond.
 
Legal
This email message is confidential and for use by the addressee only. If
the message is received by anyone other than the addressee, please delete
it from your computer. 
 
The Rural Payments Agency does not accept responsibility for changes made
to this message after it was sent. 
While all reasonable care has been taken to avoid the transmission of
viruses, it is your responsibility to ensure that onward transmission,
opening or use of this message and any attachments will not adversely
affect your systems or data. No responsibility is accepted by the Rural
Payments Agency in this regard and you should carry out appropriate virus
and other checks.

 
 
 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Rural Payments Agency request email]
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rpa-privacy-...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Autism Action Group Suffolk

Dear Information Rights Team, RPA,

Thank you for your reply, to confirm I’m not asking for anyone’s personal information which would require any disclosure of their personal details. I’m only interested in the facts of the imports, requirements, amounts imported, memorandums and emails regarding raw true hemp imports and anonymised personal information, by redacted email addresses/names, with only a trader number which I couldn’t possibly know who it relates to.

To reiterate I am making a request for information under the freedom of information act as opposed to the EIR. Does this in any way affect the request?

If it is still a requirement to write to the parties concerned when making anonymised releases of data then can you forward me the regulation requiring this and go ahead to make the necessary contact without my objection.

Yours sincerely,

E. Margiotta.

Information Rights Team, RPA, Rural Payments Agency

2 Attachments

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 
12 June 2020

Ref: RFI 5479

 

Dear E. Margiotta,

 

Re: Environmental
Information
Regulations –
Information Request

 

We refer to your email
dated 25 May which we
have dealt with under
the Environmental
Information
Regulations 2004
(EIR).

 

The information
requested is
considered
‘environmental
information’ as it
meets the definition
set out in regulation
2(1)(c) of the EIR.
This covers “measures
(including
administrative
measures), such as
policies, legislation,
plans, programmes,
environmental
agreements, and
activities affecting
or likely to affect
the elements and
factors referred to in
[2(1)](a) and (b)”
including water, soil,
land and landscape “as
well as measures or
activities designed to
protect those
elements”. As such it
must be considered for
disclosure under the
terms of the EIR
rather than the
Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

 

 

You have asked for
information relating
to the imports of true
hemp and imports of
raw true hemp (between
member states of the
European Union) for
the past five years.

 

Please find our
responses to your
questions below.

 

1. All the data on
hemp imports of True
Hemp under the heading
53021000, itemised
into individual
importers and the
amount imported by
each licensee per
year…for the last 5
years (2015-2020).

 

Please be advised that
Cannabis, a class B
controlled drug listed
in schedule 1 of the
Misuse of Drugs
Regulations 2001 and
in the Misuse of Drugs
Designation Order
2015, can be obtained
from certain varieties
of hemp, a domestic
licence is normally
required from the Home
Office.  This may take
up to four months to
obtain as various
checks (including DBS
checks) are required
on each applicant.

 

However, under
Commission Delegated
Regulation (EU) No
2016/1237 and
Commission
Implementing
Regulation (EU) No
2016/1239, there is
provision for traders
to apply for a CAP
import licence for
hemp under three
commodity codes to be
imported into the UK
at full duty.  These
codes are 1207 9920 –
Seeds of varieties of
hemp for sowing; 1207
9991 – Hemp seeds
other than for sowing;
and 5302 1000 – True
hemp, raw or retted. 
In certain
circumstances, traders
may also require a
domestic licence from
the Home Office.

 

Before RPA issues an
import licence for
hemp, an applicant
must provide us with
supporting
documentation.  For
hemp seeds for sowing
and for true hemp raw
or retted, applicants
must provide a
declaration or
laboratory analysis
report confirming that
the THC
(tetrahydrocannabinol)
content is less than
(0.2%).  Applicants
must provide a new
declaration or report
with each licence
application they
make.  New applicants
for licences for hemp
seed other than for
sowing are required to
provide either a
business plan or other
evidence of their
intent to trade.  All
applicants for import
licences for hemp seed
other than for sowing
must provide evidence
that the hemp seed
they have imported has
been mixed with other
seeds for animal feed
and sold as animal or
bird food.

 

Details of the amounts
of True hemp imported
for the last five
years are shown in the
attached annex. You
will notice that the
trader numbers have
been redacted as these
number directly
identify the
individual traders. We
can confirm these
numbers are held by
the RPA, however,
following careful
consideration, we are
unable to divulge this
information as we
consider it to be
commercially
confidential, and as
such, the exception
under EIR regulation
12(5)(e),
confidentiality of
commercial or
industrial information
is engaged.

 

The purpose of the
exception is to
protect any legitimate
economic interests
underlying commercial
confidentiality;
details of our
application of this
exemption are set out
below.

 

This exemption is
engaged when
information is
commercial in nature
and is also
confidential under
either the common-law
of confidence or
contract which
protects a legitimate
economic interest
where the
confidentiality of
disclosure would be
adversely affected.

 

This application
process is at its
core, commercial in
nature and is covered
by a common-law of
confidence, in that
this information is
not trivial and for
public consumption.
The information
provided in the
submission of these
applications is
supplied in confidence
and although it is
held by the RPA, there
is an expectation it
would not be shared
with any other party
and held in
confidence. 

 

In applying this
exception, we have had
to balance the public
interest in
maintaining the
exceptions against the
public interest in
disclosure. We have
taken account of the
presumption in favour
of disclosure as
required by regulation
12(2) of the EIR.

 

We recognise that
there is a public
interest in
information about the
activities of
regulatory bodies as
it is in the public
interest to facilitate
the accountability and
transparency of public
authorities for
decisions taken by
them, and for their
spending of public
money. Such
transparency assists
individuals in
understanding
decisions made by
public authorities
affecting their lives
and, in some cases, in
challenging those
decisions.

 

Conversely, the
disclosure of such
information could
allow others to gain
access to commercial
information,
potentially causing a
prejudicial impact on
the commercial
interests of a company
which may potentially
disadvantage them.
Disclosing information
of this sort could
also potentially
expose the companies
further by placing
details of their
business and assets in
the public domain.

 

Disclosure could also
undermine our
relationships with our
customers and
stakeholders as it
would inhibit the
effective management
of our schemes
including any
decisions made or
information provided
in confidence. The RPA
has a duty to protect
the integrity of
confidential
information by not
placing it in the
public domain.

 

Therefore, there is a
strong public interest
to ensure, that where
there is no valid
justification for
release, we would not
place commercially
sensitive information
in the public domain
which would cause harm
to the legitimate
economic interests of
those companies. 

 

For the above reasons
the RPA considers that
the weight of public
interest lies in
withholding the
information requested.

 

2. All information
with regards to
imports of raw true
hemp (data on seeds
not required) between
member states of the
European Union…limited
to the last 5 years
(2015-2020).

 

Please be advised that
as the UK is still
part of the single
European market, no
import licences are
required to import
hemp from other Member
States. Therefore, we
do not hold any data
regarding imports of
hemp between other
Member States and the
UK.

 

The information you
have requested is
exempt from disclosure
under regulation
12(4)(a) of EIR,
‘Information not
held’. As this is a
qualified exemption, a
public authority is
required to conduct a
public interest test
to determine whether
or not information
should be disclosed or
withheld. However, the
Information
Commissioner (IC)
takes the view that a
public interest test
in cases where the
information is not
held would serve no
useful purpose.
Therefore in line with
the IC’s view RPA has
not conducted a public
interest test in this
case.

 

What you need to do

If you are not happy
with the way we have
handled your request,
you can ask for an
internal review. These
requests should be
submitted in writing
within two months of
the date of receipt of
the response to your
original request and
should be addressed to
the Information Rights
Team at the Rural
Payments Agency, North
Gate House, 21-23
Valpy Street, Reading,
RG1 1AF or
alternatively email
your request for a
review to
[1][email address]

 

If you are not content
with the outcome of
the internal review,
you have the right to
apply directly to the
Information
Commissioner for a
decision. Please note
that generally the
Information
Commissioner cannot
make a decision unless
you have first
exhausted RPA’s own
complaints procedure.
The Information
Commissioner can be
contacted at:
[2]Information
Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

If you need further
information

If you have any
questions about this
email, you can contact
us by email
[3][Rural Payments Agency request email].

 

You can find more
information on how we
handle personal data
in our [4]Personal
Information Charter
and [5]RPA Privacy
notices on [6]GOV.UK

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights
Team

Rural Payments Agency
| North Gate House |
Reading | RG1 1AF

Tel: 03300 416502 |
Fax: 03300 416574 |
Email:
[7][Rural Payments Agency request email]

Follow us on Twitter
@Ruralpay
 

About this email

This email has been sent to you because the email address has been
provided to us. If you no longer wish to be contacted electronically,
please let us know. If you have done this recently please allow for this
to take effect. 

 

Security 
Please be on your guard against emails that request any of your security
details. We will never ask you by email to enter (or record) these
details. If you receive an email like this, you should not respond.

 

Legal
This email message is confidential and for use by the addressee only. If
the message is received by anyone other than the addressee, please delete
it from your computer. 

 

The Rural Payments Agency does not accept responsibility for changes made
to this message after it was sent. 

While all reasonable care has been taken to avoid the transmission of
viruses, it is your responsibility to ensure that onward transmission,
opening or use of this message and any attachments will not adversely
affect your systems or data. No responsibility is accepted by the Rural
Payments Agency in this regard and you should carry out appropriate virus
and other checks.

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[Rural Payments Agency request email]
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
5. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rpa-privacy-...
6. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
7. mailto:[Rural Payments Agency request email]