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Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Environmental Information Regulations

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 came into force on 1 January 2005. These Regulations give a general right of access to the environmental information held by the Council. They also impose an obligation on us to proactively publish environmental information we hold.

The Regulations provides greater access to environmental information held by us in two ways:

  1. by requiring us to proactively disseminate environmental information held by us; and
  2. 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
  • Waste
  • Food Hygiene
  • Housing Development Plans
  • Pollution
  • Noise
  • Animals
  • The state of buildings

How do I make a request?

You can make a request by email, telephone, letter/post or in person. We recommend that you make your request via email so that we are clear about what you require.

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.

 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 and voluminous. 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.

What if I am not happy with the way my request has been dealt with?

You should first of all make a complaint via the Councils Complaints Procedure. If after following this procedure you are still not satisfied you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, who will look into the matter on your behalf.

Office for the Information Commissioner Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Charging

The EIR provide that the Council may make a reasonable charge for the supply of environmental information.  The charge will not exceed the cost of producing the information.  Please see guidance from the Information Commissioner on charging for environmental information

(https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1627/charging-for-environmental-information-reg8.pdf )

No charge will be made to access to any public registers of environmental information held by the Council nor to examine (where possible) any information requested at the Council Offices.

In all other circumstances, the Council 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

The cost of staff time will be charged at £20 per hour which is lower than the recommended hourly charge under the Freedom of Information Act when requests exceed the fees limit in that Act.  This hourly (or part thereof) charge includes the time required to locate and retrieve the requested information.  It does not include the initial cost of determining whether we hold the requested information, or time taken to decide whether the requested information can be released.

Disbursements

Photocopying will be charged at 10p per A4 Black and White sheet.  Postage costs if appropriate will be charged at cost.

Fee Notification

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.  Payment can be may be made by

If the fee is not received within 60 working days of sending the Fee Notification we will assume that you no longer require the information requested and the request will be closed.

 

We will provide the requested information upon payment of the fee.  Payment can be made as follows:

Online by visiting www.ashfield.gov.uk/pay and quoting Ref EIR [Insert your Ref No. here]

 

Internet Banking:

Account: 03619389

Sort Code: 20-55-70

 

Please remember to quoting your reference e.g. EIR [Insert your Ref No. here]

Accessibility:

The information relating to the following land charges questions are available on the Council’s website free of charge:

  • Question 1.1A-L
  • Question 3.7A
  • Question 3.8

These can be accessed by clicking HERE 

 

A charge of £40.00 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 01 April 2017 and the fee will be required prior to information being released by the Council.

 

Please note:

Before submitting a request for information under the Environmental Information Regulations please take time to have a look on our website which may contain the information you require, or the links on our publication scheme or other pages on our website, such as:

Access to Information - http://www.ashfield.gov.uk/media/2691/access-to-information-list.pdf

Land Charges - http://www.ashfield.gov.uk/residents/planning-and-building-control/local-land-charges-service/

Planning & Building Control - http://www.ashfield.gov.uk/business/planning-and-building-control/

Publication Scheme - http://www.ashfield.gov.uk/your-council/public-data/the-publication-scheme/

 

Ashfield District Council ensures any personal data collected will be retained securely for as long as necessary and only used for legitimate Council activities to facilitate the delivery of Council services, or for the purpose of preventing and/or detecting fraud and/or crime, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998

 For further information regarding Environmental Information Regulations is available on the GOV.UK website