Environment Information Regulations

How to obtain information under Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

Submit an EIR

You can submit an EIR(link is external) request using the online application form.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) is a European legislation which gives people rights of public access to environmental information held by public authorities. Environmental information covers the elements of the environment such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components. Factors such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to above.

EIR is very similar to Freedom Of Information (FOI) and is often confused with it. There are a number of exceptions which can be applied when deciding whether information can be released or not. You can submit an EIR(link is external) request, alternatively requests can be made verbally or in writing to foi@surreyheath.gov.uk(link sends e-mail) or posted to Information Governance, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey Heath House, Knoll Road, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3HD.

Like FOI the Council has 20 working days in which to respond to your request, unless your request is complex or voluminous in which case an extension of a further 20 days can be applied.

When can a request be refused?

We can refuse a request if;

  • if we do not hold the information
  • the information falls under one of the exemptions described in regulation 12(4) or 12(5) of the EIR. We will explain when we reply to you which exemptions we think apply. This can include "neither confirming nor denying" we hold the information. There is information on the Information Commissioners website about the exemptions(link is external)
  • if the EIR request is manifestly unreasonable on the grounds of costs or diversion of resources.
  • the request is vexatious or repeated

Is there a charge for the information?

Most of the information available is free, however if your request is complex or voluminous there is a charge you will need to pay before we supply the information.

What are my rights if the Council refuses to disclose information I have requested?

Surrey Heath Borough Council has a procedure for dealing with complaints from applicants who consider that their request has not been properly handled, or who are otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of the consideration of the request. In your response there will be details about who to contact to ask for an internal review of your request. If you are not happy with the internal review you can contact the Information Commissioner to ask for a further review. Their contact details are Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. www.ico.org.uk(link is external)

CON29 and Environmental Information Requests