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Environmental Regulations

Page last updated: 23/05/2018

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR's) came into force on the 1st January 2005.  These Regulations give applicants the right of access to information held by the Council which relates to the environment. While the EIR's are similar to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in ensuring applicants have access to information; there are important distinctions.

The EIR's allow applicants to request environmental information from public authorities, for example the Environment Agency, privatised utility companies and schools.

Schools have a duty under the Regulations to provide advice and assistance to all applicants. This duty is enforceable by the Information Commissioner.

A request can be verbal or written, electronic or hardcopy.

A request must usually be answered within 20 working days of receipt, however this time period can be extended to 40 working days if the request is complex and/or voluminous.

If a public authority receives a request which they believe is too general, the authority will contact the applicant as soon as possible, but within the 20 days timescale, to try to determine specifically what information it is that they would like.

Read the legislation of the  Environmental Information Regulations in full.

The  EIR Code of Practice sets out good practice recommendations for public authorities to follow in meeting their obligations under the Regulations.

All the guidance information contained on these pages has been developed by the Office of the Information Commissioner ( Website available here: Environmental Information Regulations - For Organisations - ICO)  who are the responsible authority for overseeing the implementation of the Regulations.

For full advice and guidance you can contact the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745. It's open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Or you can email them at

Their Textphone service is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Advice and Assistance

Codes of Practice

Costs and Fees

Destroying Information

Environmental Information - General

Exceptions - Environmental

• Regulation 12(4)(a) Information not held – please see ‘Holding information’ below.

• Regulation 12(4)(b): Manifestly unreasonable requests 
• Regulation 12(4)(c): Requests formulated in too general a manner 
• Regulation 12(4)(d): Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents and incomplete data 
• Regulation 12(4)(e): Internal communications 
• Regulation 12(5)(a): International relations, defence, national security or public safety 
• Regulation 12(5)(b): The course of justice and inquiries exception 
• Regulation 12(5)(c): Intellectual property rights 
• Regulation 12(5)(d): Confidentiality of proceedings 
• Regulation 12(5)(e): Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information 
• Regulation 12(5)(f): Interests of the person who provided the information to the public authority 
• Regulation 12(5)(g): Protection of the environment 
• Regulation 12(9): Information on emissions 
• Regulation 13: personal information 
Section 40: information exempt from the subject access right 
• Section 40: neither confirm nor deny in relation to personal data 
• Section 40: personal data of both the requester and others 
• Section 40: requests for personal data about public authority employees 
• Section 41: information provided in confidence 
• Section 41: outsourcing and freedom of information
• Section 42: legal professional privilege 
• Section 43: commercial interest 
• Section 43: commercial detriment of third parties 
• Section 43: public sector contracts 
• Section 44: prohibitions on disclosure 
• Public Contract Regulations ​

Holding Information

Property Searches

Publication Schemes

Public Interest Test

Refusing a Request

Request Handling

Time for Compliance

Vexatious or Repeated Requests