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Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Freedom of Information Act gives rights of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities. However, rights of access to environmental information are provided by a separate statutory regime, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The Environmental Information Regulations provide a general right of access, subject to certain exemptions, to information held by public authorities. Environmental information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, where requests for information must be made in writing (either by letter or email), requests under the Environmental Information Regulations can also be made verbally.

Environmental information is any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or other format about:

  • the state of the elements of the environment (such as air, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites, biological diversity) and the interactions between them
  • factors such as substances, energy, radiation, noise or waste which affect or are likely to affect any of the elements mentioned above. For example, building development, loss of habitat, flooding, noise
  • emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment
  • the state of human health and safety, conditions of human life, the food chain, cultural sites and built structures which are or may be affected by any of the elements or interaction between the elements
  • measures, such as plans, policies, programmes, activities and agreements that affect, are likely to affect or intend to protect the elements or interaction between the elements
  • cost benefit and other economic analysis used in environmental decision making.

Environmental Information Regulations 2004 - ICO