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Council & Democracy

What are the Environmental Information Regulations?

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) give you the right to access environmental information held by the council.

What information do they cover?

They cover information on the state of the environment, such as:

  • air, water, soil, flora, fauna (including humans), diversity, genetically modified organisms

  • information on emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other similar substances

  • measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements

  • reports, cost benefit and economic analyses

  • human health and safety and contamination of the food chain

  • cultural sites and built structures (as they may be affected by environmental factors).

Can you refuse to give me the information I request?

The EIR has exceptions that allow us to withhold certain information if there is a valid reason for us to do so. For example, we may withhold information if it contains personal information or its release could damage commercial interests.

However, all exceptions in the EIR are subject to the public interest test. This means that even though information may be covered by an exception, we must still disclose it if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs withholding it.

See the Information Commissioner’s List of EIR exceptions for more information.

How do I request information?

Make an EIR Request Online

How much does it cost?

We are allowed to charge a reasonable amount for the following activities :

  • the time spent determining whether we hold the information requested

  • locating the information or a document containing the information

  • retrieving the information

  • extracting the information from documents

  • other costs of making available the information (eg scanning or photographing documents)

  • photocopying is charged at 10p per A4 sheet

  • postage and other means of transmission (such as CD-Roms) will be charged at cost.

How long does it take?

We will respond to you within 20 working days of you submitting your request. We will let you know:

  • whether we hold the information and

  • if a fee will be charged

We will then provide you with the information (after any relevant fee has been paid), unless an exception applies.