Access to Information on the Environment
The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 and S.I. No. 615 of 2014) (AIE Regulations) gives 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.
There is no initial fee for making an application under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations. However, a public authority may charge a reasonable fee for supplying the information requested. This may include the cost of compiling, copying, printing or posting of information.
Public Authorities may not charge for access to registers or lists of environmental information or for the examination of such information in situ.
For further information on Access to Information on the Environment, please see 'Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)' and for further information on the Commissioner’s Office, please see www.ocei.ie.
What categories of information does AIE cover?
There are six categories of information available as follows:
- 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 and other releases into the environment
- measures designed to protect the elements of the environment e.g. policies, legislation, plans, programs, 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 sights and built structures in as much as they may be affected by the elements of the environment.
Under the mandate of legislation, we must refuse to give you access to environmental information on the following grounds:
- personal information
- information supplied by a third party voluntarily
- material the disclosure of which would make it more likely that the environment to which such material related would be damaged
- confidentiality of the proceedings of public authorities.
Under the AIE Regulations we may refuse to give you access to information on certain grounds:
- international relations, national defence or public security
- the course of justice
- commercial or industrial confidentiality
- intellectual property rights
- material in the course of completion
- internal communications with public authorities
- the request is considered to be unreasonable due to the volume or range of information sought or the request is too general.
How do I request information under the AIE Regulations?
When making a request for information under the AIE Regulations, you must:
- submit your request in writing or electronic form and state that it is being made under the AIE Regulations
- provide your contact details
- state as clearly as possible the environmental information required
- if you require the information in a specific format or manner of access, you should specify this in your request.
We are obliged to reply within one month of receipt of your application.
Please submit your application to:
Cork County Council
Tel: 021 4532700
The AIE Regulations allow people access to environmental information held by or for public authorities which is not routinely available through other means.
The Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 operate in parallel with the AIE Regulations. This means that people can gain access to environmental information under the FOI Acts and the AIE Regulations.
If you wish to access personal information held by the Council under the Data Protection legislation, please see the Data Protection Section.
What is my Right of Appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the response to your request or if the Council fail to respond within the assigned timeframe, you can request an internal review of the matter. That review will be undertaken by an officer of the Council who was unconnected to the original decision. You must make your appeal within one month of receiving the original decision letter and the Council must respond to your appeal within one month of receipt of same.
Please submit your appeal to:
AIE Appeals Officer
Cork County Council
Tel: 021 4532700
Can I then appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information?
Following the completion of the internal review, you may seek an independent review of the decision from the Commissioner for Environmental Information. Appeals to the Commissioner must be made within one month of the internal review decision. You may also appeal to the Commissioner if the Council does not reply to your request for an internal review of the original decision within one month.
Appeals must be made in writing to the Commissioner for Environmental Information at the following address:
Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Tel: 01 6395689
Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office can be found on www.ocei.ie.
Third parties affected by the decision of the Council may also appeal to the Commissioner against the Council’s decision.
You must include the appropriate fee for your appeal (see Fees Section for more information).