Environmental Information Regulations EIR is part of a wide group of policies to modernise government and aims to promote a culture of openness and accountability within public authorities. It does this by giving anyone, anywhere, the right to request recorded data held by public authorities.
You can make an Environmental Information Request (EIR) request relating to environmental information that a public authority holds (for example, information about land development, pollution levels, energy production, and waste management) which isn’t relating to personal data or general data.
Anyone asking for data has the right to be told whether the data exists and to receive the data (unless it is exempt) and, where possible, in the format requested.
The Publication Scheme
Under the FOI Act 2000, all local authorities have to produce a Publication Scheme . This is a directory of data and publications that we already make available, so before you ask for any data, you should check whether it is included in our Publication Scheme. Please also see Transparency page for additional information
How do I ask for data?
- Your contact details, normally name and address (email address is acceptable)
- A description of the data you require with timescales (if known)
We will then let you know that we have received your request, that it is being dealt with and the timescales for a reply.
You do not have to refer to the Environmental Information Regulations in your request or give a reason for wanting to see the data. However, it may make it easier for us to find exactly what you want if you mention the Act and tell us why you want the data. You can say which format you would like to receive the data in, such as on paper or electronically, or you can ask to inspect a record.
Do I have to pay for the data?
No, although the EIR allow public authorities to refuse a request for data which is manifestly unreasonable. The inclusion of the word “manifestly” means that there must be an obvious or clear quality to the unreasonableness.
This exception can be used:
- when the request is vexatious; or
- when the cost of compliance with the request would be too great.
How long will it take to receive the data?
We have to respond to you within 20 working days, but we will do our best to provide the data as quickly as possible. For large or complex requests, we are allowed up to 40 working days. We will always let you know if we need this extra time to deal with your request. However, if we ask you to provide clarification of your request, the clock stops until we receive that clarification. The clock also stops between us asking for any applicable fee and the fee being paid. Please check the Publication Scheme first to see whether the data you want is already available.
Is there any data that cannot be released?
Yes, if an exception applies. Under Environmental Information Regulations qualified’ exception are subject to a public interest test and cover such areas as commercial interests, law enforcement and health and safety. You will be notified in writing if an exception applies to some or all of your request. The only other reasons for not providing data are if the request is considered a nuisance, is unreasonable, repeated, or if the required fee is not paid within three months.
What can I do if I’m not satisfied with the response?
Firstly, contact the Performance and Communications Team and ask for an internal review if you are unhappy with the way your request was handled or if you want to appeal against a decision regarding non-disclosure of data. We will deal with your internal review under our Corporate Compliments, Comments and Complaints procedure.
If you are still dissatisfied after an internal review has been conducted you can escalate your request to the Information Commissioners Office (see below).
Where can I find out more information on EIR?