Environmental Information Regulations
Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
The Environmental Information Regulations give you the right to obtain information about the environment held by public authorities, unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.
Environmental information is divided into the following six main areas:
The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including human beings)
Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances
Measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment
Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses
The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain
Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment)
Time scale for reply
If a public authority receives a request for information on any of the areas mentioned above, they are legally obliged to provide it, usually within 20 working days. There are a number of exceptions to this rule - for example, if the information is likely to prejudice national security - and if this is the case, the public authority must explain why the exception applies. The time limit can only be extended (to 40 working days) if the information requested is complex and voluminous.
Advice, Assistance and Fees
Public authorities must provide advice and assistance to applicants when necessary. A reasonable charge may be made for environmental information. No charge may be made for environmental information held in registers or lists or for viewing the information at the public authority's premises. There is no 'appropriate limit' to the cost of providing environmental information.
Refusing a Request
If the public authority refuses access to information, it must explain which exception applies and why releasing the information is not in the public interest.
If you are dissatisfied with the way the public authority has dealt with your request, you may put your comments to the public authority and it must then reconsider its decision.
If you are still dissatisfied after the reconsideration procedure, you can complain to the Information Commissioner (Tel: 01625 545 745). Further details can be found at www.ico.gov.uk. The Information Commissioners Office enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. To find out more about the information rights in the public interest visit http://www.ico.gov.uk.
How can I make a request for Environmental Information?
The request can be made by letter, email, telephone or in person. You can use the same contact details as you would for a Freedom of Information Request and these can be found by clicking here