The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a new ‘Guide to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)’ to help public authorities better understand how to apply them.
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said:
“While many public authorities will be used to responding to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, we regularly find that requests for environmental information have not been correctly identified as falling under the Environmental Information Regulations.
“Last year we dealt with 452 complaints under these regulations, many of them concerning applications which had been incorrectly treated as an FOI request. This guide will help public authorities to identify EIR requests at an early stage and to respond correctly.”
The ICO has also published additional detailed guidance that runs alongside the Guide to the EIR and explains important areas of the Regulations in further detail:
• Regulation 12(4)(d): Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents and incomplete data
• Regulation 12(4)(e): Internal communications
• Regulation 12(5)(a): International relations, defence, national security or public safety
• Regulation 12(5)(c): Intellectual property rights
• Regulation 12(5)(d): Confidentiality of proceedings
• Regulation 12(5)(e): Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information
Over the next few weeks we will be publishing further guidance documents on specific aspects of the EIR. These include guidance on the exceptions relating to the course of justice (regulation 12(5)(b)) and the protection of the environment (regulation 12(5)(g)).
The ‘Guide to the Environmental Information Regulations’ and the additional new detailed guidance are available on the ICO website.
The NBN Trust's information on the EIR can be found here. This includes Guidance note 1 - Applying the Environmental harm exception and Guidance note 2 - Applying the volunteered information exception.