Environmental Information Regulations

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) establishes an access regime which allows people to request environmental information from public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function.

Any request for information held by or on behalf of a public authority or a body carrying out a public function is technically an FOI request in the first instance. Section 39 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) then exempts environmental information from being dealt with under the FOI Act and provides it should be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2005 (EIR).  Information should be disclosed under Environmental Information Regulations unless an exception applies.

If an exception applies the information must be disclosed unless the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it. 

If it is determined that part or all of the information requested is personal information, where the applicant is the subject of the information, access to that information will be dealt with under the Data Protection Act 2018.

In effect the three pieces of legislation work together, the Environmental Information Regulations enabling access to environmental information, the Data Protection Act 2018 enabling access to personal information of which the applicant is the subject, and the Freedom of Information Act enabling access to all other information.