European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2011 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 and S.I. No. 615 of 2014) (hereafter referred to as the AIE Regulations), give 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.
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, for example timeframes 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.
The AIE Regulations define environmental information as “any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:
The AIE Regulations provide for access to both environmental information held by or for a public authority.
Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to:
When making a request for information under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations requesters are required to:
There is no fee to make a request under AIE Regulations. However, the Regulations do allow a public authority to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of supplying the environmental information.
The OPW has set the following charges:
|Search, retrieval and copying of records:||€20 per hour|
|Photocopy:||€0.04 per sheet|
In general, a public authority is required to respond to an AIE request within one month of receipt of the request. Where, due to the complexity or volume of information required, a public authority is unable to respond within the one month timeframe, they are required to write to the applicant within the month, indicating when a response will issue. This date should not be more than two months from the receipt of the original request.
If the public authority does not have the information requested; it can either transfer the request to another public authority or advise the applicant of where it believes the request should be directed. In either case, it is required to notify the applicant.
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 department, request that the department carry out an internal review of the decision in part or in whole. The review will be carried out by a more senior member of staff.
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.
If you have any queries, the AIE Unit can be contacted at: