The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give a general right of access to the environmental information held by the District Council.
The Regulations provides greater access to environmental information held by us in two ways:
- by requiring us to proactively disseminate environmental information held by us; and
- by giving individuals the right of access, upon request, to environmental information held by us.
The Freedom of Information Act contains an exemption relating to environmental information. Requests for environmental information will be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations and not the Freedom of Information Act.
What is Environmental Information?
Environmental information is defined as including information relating to:
- The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including human beings)
- Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances
- Measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment
- Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses
- The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain
- Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment)
What does this include?
It depends on the information being requested, but could include information relating to:-
- Planning matters
- Land Use
- Food Hygiene
- Housing Development Plans
How do I make a request?
You can make a request by online form, email, telephone, letter or in person. We recommend that you make your request in writing using our online form so that we are clear about what you require.
When making a request for information please include the following details:
- Your name and postal or email address
- The information or documents you would like to receive
- The format you would prefer – e.g. printed leaflet, e-mail, CD Rom.
The Regulations allow us to charge what it considers a reasonable amount for providing environmental information. To be fair and reasonable we have decided to charge for environmental information in the same way we charge for Freedom of Information requests.
When can I expect to receive the information?
We will make every effort to provide you with the information as soon as possible and in any event within 20 working days. The time limit can be extended to 40 working days if the information requested is complex and voluminous. We will let you know if we need to extend the time period.
Will I receive all the information I have asked for?
Not necessarily. We will not release information which we do not hold and will not deal with your request if we consider it to be too general or excessive.
The Regulations also contain a number of exceptions to protect information that should not be released into the public domain. We will not release information where one of the exceptions applies and we consider it to be in the public interest to withhold the information.
What if I am not happy with the way my request has been dealt with?
If you are unhappy about the way your request has been dealt with or wish to object to our decision to refuse to provide you with certain information, you should complain in writing to the Complaints Officer.
If you are still not happy, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.
Tel: 01629 761 100