Why Lothian Buses refuses to reveal its risks from Spaces for People - John McLellan

The low emission zone opens a new front in Edinburgh’s apparently phoney war on cars, but in the trenches of Spaces for People comes a new development, a refusal by Lothian Buses to reveal what risks it thinks the scheme presents to its business.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:45 pm
An FoI request was refused

Asked by the South-West Edinburgh in Motion campaign under Freedom of Information legislation to reveal details of its risk register, to its credit the company revealed the details did exist but releasing them would “substantially inhibit the likelihood of such information being freely exchanged in the future which, self-evidently, would not be in the public interest.”

It’s a matter of interpretation whether it is not in the public interest for the public to know what risks a company which is wholly owned by the public faces from decisions by its biggest shareholder, a public body, but had Lothian Buses been unconcerned by the way Spaces for People had been handled it’s likely they would have been happy to say as much.

Therefore, it’s highly probable the risk register the company presented to the Council does not make for comfortable reading.

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It’s fair when issues of security or safety are concerned that information is not made public so “bad actors”, as they say these days, can’t take advantage, but it’s unclear what commercial sensitivity is compromised by a publicly-owned company revealing the scale of risks which would be faced by all operators.

Embarrassment or irritation should not be a reason to reject publication, so looks like the information Commissioner will have an appeal to consider.