The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) came into force on 1 January 2005, to coincide with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. They clarify and extend previous rights to environmental information.
The public has a right of access to environmental information held by public authorities and some other organisations. Requests for information do not need to be in writing, nor do they need to quote the regulations. However, it usually helps to clarify the nature of the information requested if it is put in writing.
The definition of “environmental information” is wide and covers elements of the environment, such as land, water, biological organisms etc, but also measures and activities which may affect these, including economic analysis of such measures and activities.
A charge may be made for providing the information provided it is reasonable. In practice, many requests are likely to be met free of charge. EIR fee guidance has been produced.
There are certain limited exemptions to the provision of information and any refusal must be made in writing and provide the reasons for the refusal.
Environmental Information Regulations guidance
The Code of Practice and detailed guidance on the Environmental Information Regulations can be viewed below.