logo
Home > Our Services > Your Council > Data transparency & freedom of information > Access to Information on the Environment

Access to Information on the Environment

The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2018 (AIE Regulations) give you the right to access environmental information 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.

Definition of Environmental Information

The AIE Regulations cover environmental information held in written, visual, aural, electronic, or any other material form. There are six categories of information:

  • The state of the elements of the environment; for example, air, water, soil, land, landscape, biological diversity.
  • Factors affecting, or likely to affect, the elements of the environment; for example, energy, noise, radiation, waste, other releases into the environment.
  • Measures designed to protect the elements of the environment; for example, 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.
  • The state of human health and safety, the food chain, cultural sites and built structures in as much as they may be affected by the elements of the environment.

How to Make an AIE Request

When making a request for information under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations you are required to:

  • state that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations
  • 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

Please submit AIE requests in writing to:

Access to Information on the Environment Officer,
Westmeath County Council,
Áras an Chontae,
Mount Street,
Mullingar

or in electronic format to foi@westmeathcoco.ie

Requirements for dealing with requests

Westmeath County Council will acknowledge receipt of your request and you will normally be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of its receipt. If Westmeath County Council is unable to respond within the one-month timeframe, it will contact you and indicate when a response will be issued.

If the information requested is not held by Westmeath County Council, it will inform you of this. If Westmeath County Council is aware that the information requested is being held by another public authority, it will advise you of this and may transfer the request to that other authority.

Fees

There is no fee to make a request under AIE Regulations.

There is no fee for the internal review process.

The cost of an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information is €50, or €15 for medical card holders or their dependents.

Grounds for Refusing an Application

The AIE Regulations provide a number of grounds on which a public authority can refuse information. These include:

  • when a body is acting in a legislative or judicial capacity (Article 3(2))
  • to protect the confidentiality of personal information relating to a natural person who has not consented to the disclosure of the information, and where that confidentiality is otherwise protected by law (Article 8)
  • the protection of the environment to which that information relates (Article 8)
  • the course of justice (including criminal inquiries and disciplinary inquiries) (Article 9(1))
  • where the request is manifestly unreasonable with regard to the volume or range of information being sought (Article 9(2))

What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?

You can request an internal review of the decision if your request for environmental information has been either wholly or partially refused, or if you believe it has not been dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the AIE Regulations. You should make this request for an internal review within one month of receiving the final decision.
No fee will be charged for the internal review process.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (OCEI) to review the matter. You should request an appeal to the OCEI within one month of receiving the decision of the internal review.

The cost of an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information is €50, or €15 for medical card holders or their dependents.

Further Information

Department of Environment, Climate and Communications

Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information

Citizens Information