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Wednesday 22 February 2017

News: National Archives of Scotland to open a further 4,000 Government files

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) have made available around 4,000 government files which would previously have remained closed for 30 years. This follows the decision by Scottish Ministers to reduce the closure on 'historical' records from 30 to 15 years under The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

This is the second tranche of files to be released under this new initiative, and they contain government papers from the years 1984 to 1988. These latest releases reflect topics as diverse as the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Scotland, the BSE cattle crisis, the impact of alcohol on public health, early proposals for constructing a road bridge to Skye, and the further development of winter sports in the Highlands. List of files to be released (Phase 2) – Acrobat PDF 1058KB

The first release phase took place on 28 September 2009 on International Right to Know Day. It covered the years 1979 to 1983. Read more about the first tranche release.

Skye Bridge

Other government files from the current release period are already in the public domain having been passed to NAS after FOISA was implemented in January 2005. Those files reflect subjects as diverse as determining fishing rights around Rockall, the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster, drug misuse and the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and events such as the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival.

A final release of files to the year 1994 will take place later in 2010.

Using images of records from the 15th century to the 20th century, it shows how successive governments initially sought to keep information secret and from the public gaze, while later recognising the need to satisfy increasing public demand for freer access. Read more about the 'An Open Secret' exhibition.

One of the exhibits is a Scottish parliamentary record from 1488 which gave rise to a medieval conspiracy theory. Read about the mysterious death of James III. Another concerns a futuristic 1930s high-speed monorail system, whose prototype was tested in Milngavie near Glasgow, but was never built commercially Read more about the George Bennie Railplane.


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