Access to Information on the Environment

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 – 2014

The Access to information on the Environment (“AIE Regulations”) give you the right to access Environmental Information held by, or for, SEAI and other Public Authorities.

What is the definition of Environmental Information?

environmental information” means any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on –

(a) the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms and the interaction among these elements,

(b) factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment,

(c) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements,

(d) reports on the implementation of environmental legislation,

(e) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in paragraph (c), and

(f) the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they are, or may be, affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c);

"environmental information held by a public authority” means environmental information in the possession of a public authority that has been produced or received by that authority;

environmental information held for a public authority” means environmental information that is physically held by a natural or legal person on behalf of that authority.

What  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 statutory provision.

Information that does not come within the scope of the definition of Environmental Information, and which is not already publicly available, can be requested under the Freedom of Information Acts.

How do I make an AIE request?

A request for environmental information shall:

(a) be made in writing or electronic form,

(b) state that the request is made under these Regulations,

(c) state the name, address and any other relevant contact details of the applicant,

(d) state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that is the subject of the request, and

(e) if the applicant desires access to environmental information in a particular form or manner, specific the form or manner of access desired.

An applicant shall not be required to state his or her interest in making the request.

There is no initial fee required when lodging a request for information under AIE.

A request to SEAI for Environmental Information should be made in writing or electronic form to:

AIE Officer
SEAI
Wilton Park House
Wilton Place
Dublin 2

Email:aie@seai.ie

Decision on a Request

SEAI is obliged to acknowledge the request within two weeks of receiving it, and generally make a decision on the request within one month, or two months in certain cases. If SEAI does not respond within one month the decision is deemed to have been refused and the requester can proceed to the review stage.

A decision on your request may be to grant, part grant or refuse the information requested.

The AIE Regulations set out mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal of information. In either case SEAI must specify in writing the reasons for refusal.

Where the information is held by a public authority other than SEAI we will either refer your request directly to the appropriate public authority or advise the requester of the appropriate public authority to whom the request should be directed.

What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my AIE request?

You may seek an ‘internal review’ of the decision from SEAI who shall designate a person unconnected with the original decision whose rank is the same as, or higher than, that of the original decision-maker to review the decision. No fee will be charged for the internal review process. The review must be completed by SEAI within one month of receiving it.

Applications for review of a decision on a request must be made within one month, and should be addressed to:

AIE Officer
SEAI
Wilton Park House
Wilton Place
Dublin 2

Email:aie@seai.ie

If you are still unhappy with the decision, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Commissioner for Environmental Information.Your request for appeal must be made within one month of the date that notification of the internal review decision has been, or was required to be, notified to you.

The Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lr. Leeson Street
Dublin 2|

Email:info@oic.gov.ie

Website: http://www.oic.gov.ie

Is there a charge for making an AIE request?

No fee is charged for the making of a request under the AIE Regulations. No fee is charged for the internal review process. However fees may be charged for the cost of supplying the information, including the staff costs associated with compiling, copying, printing and posting of the information. The charges will only relate to the supply of the information. If any charges apply, this will be notified in the acknowledgment letter.

 
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