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Access to Information on the Environment

How to apply to public authorities for access to information on the environment under current legislation.

The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 & S.I. No. 615 of 2014) (AIE Regulations) gives legal rights to those seeking to access information on the environment from public authorities.

Under these Regulations, information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public authority must be made available on request, subject to certain exceptions. The AIE Regulations also oblige public authorities to be proactive in disseminating environmental information to the public.

What categories of information does AIE cover?

There are six categories of information available as follows:

  • The state of the elements of the environment, eg air, water, soil, land, landscape, biological diversity
  • Factors affecting, or likely to affect, the elements of the environment, eg energy, noise, radiation, waste and other emissions
  • Measures designed to protect the elements of the environment, eg policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements
  • Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation
  • Analyses and assumptions used within the framework of measures designed to protect the environment
  • The state of human health and safety, the food chain, cultural sights and built structures in as much as they may be affected by the elements of the environment

Under the mandate of legislation, we must refuse to give you access to environmental information on the following grounds:

  • Personal information
  • Information supplied by a third party voluntarily
  • Material, the disclosure of which would make it more likely that the environment to which such material related would be damaged
  • Confidentiality of the proceedings of public authorities

Under the AIE Regulations you may be refused access to information on certain grounds:

  • International relations, national defence or public security
  • The course of justice
  • Commercial or industrial confidentiality
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Material in the course of completion
  • Internal communications with public authorities
  • The request is considered unreasonable due to volume or range of information sought or the request is too general

What environmental information is NOT available under the AIE Regulations?

The AIE Regulations do not apply to environmental information that is required to be made available under any other legislation. Information that does not come within the scope of the definition of environmental information, and that is not already publicly available, can be requested under the Freedom of Information Acts.

How do I request information under the AIE Regulations?

When making a request for information under the AIE Regulations, you must:

  • Submit your request in writing or electronic form stating it is being made under the AIE Regulations
  • Provide your contact details
  • State clearly the environmental information required
  • Specify if you require the information in a specific format or manner of access

Please submit your application to:

Helena Dennehy
Senior Executive Officer
Water & Environmental Services Section
Wicklow County Council
County Buildings
Wicklow
Email: env@wicklowcoco.ie

The Freedom of Information Acts operate in parallel with AIE Regulations. This means that people can gain access to environmental information under the FOI Acts and the AIE Regulations.

Fees

There is no initial fee for making an application under AIE Regulations. However, a public authority may charge a reasonable fee for supplying information requested. This may include the cost of compiling, copying, printing or posting of information.