Access to Information on the Environment
You are entitled to request access to information on the environment that is held by us. This right comes from Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament, the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007), the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 662 of 2011) and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 615 of 2014).
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.
The AIE Regulations provide a definition of environmental information; outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities and the manner in which public authorities are required to deal with requests e.g. time frames for response. The regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.
Categories of information which you can access
The Directive covers information held in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form. There are 6 categories of information within this Directive:
- The state of the elements of the environment, e.g. air, water, soil, land, landscape, biological diversity
- Factors affecting, or likely to affect, the elements of the environment, e.g. energy, noise, radiation, waste, other releases into the environment
- Measures designed to protect the elements of the environment, e.g. 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 sites and built structures in as much as they may be affected by the elements of the environment
How Do I Make an AIE Request
When making a request for information under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations you are required to:
- state that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations and submit it in writing to the Access to Information on the Environment Officer, South Dublin County Council, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24 or electronic form to email@example.com
- provide your contact details,
- state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information required, and specify the form and manner of access desired.
Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of its receipt.
What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?
If you consider that your original request for environmental information was refused wholly or partially, or was otherwise not properly dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the AIE Regulations, you may, not later than one month following the receipt of the decision from the Council, request that the Council carry out an internal review of the decision in part or in whole.
No fee will be charged for the internal review process.
A written outcome of the review informing you of the decision, the reason for the decision and advising you of your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information, including the time limits and fees associated with such an appeal, will be issued to you within one month of the date of receipt of the request. The cost of such an appeal is €50 or €15 for medical card holders or their dependents.
As provided for in the AIE Regulations, there is no initial fee required when lodging a request for information under AIE to the Council. The Council may however, charge a reasonable fee for supplying environmental information in accordance with the Regulations. The charge will be on the same basis as those currently applied under the Freedom of Information Acts i.e.
|Search, retrieval and copying costs which do not exceed €100||No charge|
|Search, retrieval and copying costs of €101 or more and up to €700||€20 per hour in respect of the full search and retrieval costs, €10 per cd, €6 per x-ray and 4 cent per page of photocopying subject to a cap of €500.|
|Search, retrieval and copying fees above €700-If the requester does not refine the AIE request to bring costs below €700 and the request is processed by the Council||Full actual cost of producing the records @ €20 per hour in respect of full search and retrieval costs plus €10 per cd,€6 per x-ray and 4 cent per page of photocopying will apply.|