Access to Information on the Environment
The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 133 of 2007), give legal rights to those seeking access to information on the environment from public authorities. These Regulations came into effect on 1 May 2007, repealing the previous legislative instrument, the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 1998.
Subject to certain exceptions, information relating to the environment held by or for a public authority, must be made available on request to any person.
The Regulations provide a definition of environmental information and outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities. The Regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Access to Information (AIE) and Freedom of Information (FOI)?
The AIE Regulations operates in parallel with the Freedom of Information ActS 1997 and 2003 (as amended). While the two legislative codes are broadly similar (with respect to environmental information), the AIE Regulations and the FOI Acts differ in that a wider range of public authorities are covered by the AIE Regulations than by the FOI legislation. There are also material differences in the grounds under which access to information can be refused under the two legislative codes.
Is there a charge for getting information under the AIE Regulations?
There is no fee payable when lodging a request for information under AIE.
How do I make an AIE request?
Applications for AIE information should be made to Corporate Support Unit, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Elm House, Earlsvale Road, Cavan.
When making a request for information under the AIE Regulations you are required to state that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations and submit it in writing or electronic form to CorporateSupport.Unit@dcenr.gov.ie Please provide your contact details, and state in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information required, and specify the form and manner of access desired. Generally, you will be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of receipt of request.
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 of the public authority concerned, request the public authority to carry out an internal review 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.
How do I make an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information?
A written appeal should be submitted to the Commissioner for Environmental Information at the:
Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Telephone: 01- 6395689
Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office are contained on the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website at http://www.oic.ie/.
The AIE Regulations provide that a fee of €150 must be charged for an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. However, provision is also made for a reduced appeal fee of €50 for medical card holders and their dependents, and also for people not party to the original request for access to information, who are appealing a decision to release information which they believe will affect them.
AIE Regulations 2007 Guidance Notes
Further information on the AIE Regulations including more detailed information on the above Frequently Asked Questions is set out in the Official Guidelines which accompany the AIE Regulations. These Guidelines are intended to assist and offer guidance to public authorities on the implementation of the AIE Regulations and to applicants who wish to access environmental information.
The full text of the AIE Regulation (S.I. 133 of 2007) and the AIE Regulations Guidance Notes are available via the following link
Assistance in Making Requests
For details of the information held on the website of DCENR, view our Site Map or Freedom of Information Act 1997, Section 15 - Guide to the Functions of and records held by the Department, or if you have any queries on making a request under AIE, please contact :
Corporate Support Unit,
Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources,