Environmental Information Regulations 2004
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give a general right of access to the environmental information we hold. They also impose an obligation on us to proactively publish that environmental information.
The regulations provides greater access to environmental information held by us in two ways:
- by requiring us to proactively disseminate environmental information held by us
- by giving individuals the right of access, upon request, to environmental information held by us.
The Freedom of Information Act contains an exemption relating to environmental information. All requests for environmental information will be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations and not the Freedom of Information Act.
What is environmental information?
Environmental information is defined as including information relating to:
- 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).
What does this include?
It depends on the information being requested, but could include information relating to:
- planning matters
- land Use
- food Hygiene
- housing development plans
- the state of buildings.
How do I make a request?
You can make a request by email, telephone, by post or in person. We recommend you make your request via email so that we are clear about what you require. You can make your request to us by:
- email: email@example.com
Before making a request check to see if we have already made the information you want available online.
The information relating to the following land charges questions are available on our website free of charge:
- Question 1.1A-L
- Question 3.7A
- Question 3.8
A charge of £40 per question per address will be payable for the following questions requested under EIR:
- Questions 3.7 b-d & f
- Question 3.9 and
- Question 3.12
These charges have been effective since 1 April 2017 and the fee will be required prior to information being released.
When can I expect to receive the information?
We will make every effort to provide you with the information as soon as possible and in any event within 20 working days.
The time limit can be extended to 40 working days if the information requested is complex or there is a lot of it. We will let you know if we need to extend the time period.
Will I receive all the information I have asked for?
Not necessarily. We will not release information which we do not hold and will not deal with your request if we consider it to be too general or excessive.
The regulations also contain a number of exceptions to protect information that should not be released into the public domain. We will not release information where one of the exceptions applies and we consider it to be in the public interest to withhold the information.
Paying for a request
The regulations allow us to charge what it considers a reasonable amount for providing environmental information. To be fair and reasonable we have decided to charge for environmental information in the same way we charge for Freedom of Information requests.
There is more information on the Information Commissioners website about how environmental information requests are charged for.
No charge will be made to access to any public registers of environmental information held by us nor to examine (where possible) any information requested at our offices.
In all other circumstances we may make a charge. The charge is calculated on the estimated cost of making the information available based on hourly rates of those members of staff who are involved and includes:
- staff time - this is charged at £20 per hour. This is lower than the recommended hourly charge and covers the time needed to find and retrieve requested information. It does not include the initial cost of finding out if we hold the information, or time taken to decide any information we do hold can be released
- photocopying will be charged at 10p per A4 black and white sheet
- postage costs, if needed, will be charged at cost
In response to your request (and if a charge is to be made) we will issue you with a Fee Notice. This will include a schedule detailing the tasks involved in responding to the request and associated costs.
We will provide to you the requested information upon payment of the fee. You can pay online through our payment system using a debit or credit card. Quote your reference number when you pay - this is Ref EIR then the number we have given you.
If the fee is not received within 60 working days of us sending you the Fee Notification we will assume you no longer require the information requested and the request will be closed.
Other ways to pay
You can also pay through your own bank's online system. Our details are:
- account number: 03619389
- sort code: 20-55-70
What if I am not happy with the way my request has been dealt with?
You should first of all make a complaint to us. If after we've dealt with your complaint you are still not satisfied you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, who will look into the matter on your behalf.
You can contact them by post:
Office for the Information Commissioner