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Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides you with quick answers to frequently asked questions on your right to obtain environmental information.

What is access to environmental information?
Under UK law, the general public has the right to obtain environmental information held by public authorities. This right is known as access to environmental information. It helps to increase public awareness about environmental issues and decisions.
What are the relevant UK laws on access to environmental information?
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) provide the public with the right to access to environmental information in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland also has equivalent regulations.
Who can ask for environmental information?
Anyone in any part of the world can ask for environmental information held by public authorities in the UK.
How do I access environmental information?
1. Check the relevant authority's website: it may have posted the information you need.
2. If the information is not already publicly available, contact the authority and request it.
How can I make a request for environmental information?
Requests for environmental information can be made in any form, including verbal requests by telephone or face to face. However, it is recommended that you confirm any verbal request for environmental information in writing and keep a record of the request.
What happens when a request for environmental information is made?
A public body must respond to requests as soon possible and no later than 20 days to a request for environmental information. If the request for information is complicated and lengthy, the public body may take a further 20 days to deal with it.
Can a request for environmental information be refused?
Yes, there are several circumstances in which a public authority can refuse to disclose environmental information, but they have to say why, and show why it is in the public interest not to disclose the information. For more details, see Refusal to grant information.

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