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Environmental Information FAQ's

Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)

The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. 133 of 2007, S.I. 662 of 2011 and S.I. 615 of 2014) (hereafter the "Regulations"), give legal rights to those seeking access to information on the environment from public authorities. 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 definition of "environmental information" in the Directive and in the Regulations is broad.  It covers information "in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form" and identifies six separate categories of information dealing with:

  • 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, other releases into the environment)
  • measures designed to protect the elements of the environment (e.g. policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements)
  • reports on the implementation of environmental legislation
  • analyses and assumptions used within the framework of measures designed to protect the environment; and
  • the state of human health and safety, the food chain, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they may be affected by the elements of the environment.

Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to:

Maria Connolly
Information & Compliance Officer
Room A1-071
University of Limerick
Limerick

Tel: 061 234393
Email: foi@ul.ie

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 (to the address above) or in electronic form (email: foi@ul.ie)
  • provide your contact details
  • state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information required, and specify the form and manner of access desired (e.g. Do you wish to seek photocopies? Do you wish to view the original documents? etc.).

 Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of its receipt.

 Under the AIE Regulations we may refuse to give you access to environmental information on certain grounds:

  • international relations, national defence or public security
  • the course of justice (including criminal inquiries and disciplinary inquiries)
  • commercial or industrial confidentiality
  • intellectual property rights
  • material in the course of completion
  • internal communications of public authorities
  • the request is considered to be unreasonable, due to the volume or range of information sought
  • the request is too general
  • the material is not yet completed

We must refuse to give you access to environmental information on other grounds listed below (subject to the provisions of Article 10):

  • personal information
  • information supplied by a third party on a voluntary basis
  • protection of the environment to which information relates
  • confidentiality of the proceedings of public authorities

If your original request for environmental information was refused wholly or partially, or if you consider that your request was 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 University, request the University 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 advice on your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information will be issued to you within one month of the date of receipt of the request.

A written appeal should be submitted to the Commissioner for Environmental Information at the following address:

Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

Telephone: 01 6395689

Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office are contained on the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information website at www.ocei.gov.ie.  As of December 2014, the AIE Regulations provide that a fee of €50 must be charged for an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. However, provision is also made for a reduced appeal fee of €15 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.

If you have any queries on the above or require assistance in making a request, please contact Maria Connolly, Information & Compliance Officer on (061) 234393 or email: foi@ul.ie.

 

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