Access to Information on the Environment

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment Regulations) 2007 to 2011.  (S.I No. 133 of 2007 & S.I. No. 662 of 2011)

The Access to information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations give you the right to access Environmental Information held by, or for, the EPA and other Public Authorities.  A decision on your request must normally be made within four weeks.

What can I ask for?

You can ask for Environmental Information held by, or for, the EPA.   Environmental Information is defined in the AIE Regulations and determines what is available under the AIE Regulations. 

What is the definition of Environmental Information?

Environmental Information can be held in any material form (including written, visual, aural or electronic) and is defined as follows:

  • the state of 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, including genetically modified organisms and the interaction among these elements,
  • 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,
  • measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements,
  • reports on the implementation of environmental legislation,
  • cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in paragraph (c), and
  • the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they are, or may be, affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c);

Information not available under the AIE Regulations?

The AIE Regulations do not apply to Environmental Information that is required to be made available under any other statutory provision.

Information that does not come within the scope of the definition of Environmental Information, and which is not already publicly available, can be requested under the Freedom of Information Acts

How do I make an AIE request?

Write to the AIE Officer, EPA Headquarters, PO Box 3000, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford or email AIE@epa.ie.  In your correspondence you should:

  • state that your request is being made under the AIE Regulations
  • provide your name, address and any other relevant contact details,
  • state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that is the subject of the request, and
  • specify the form or manner of access desired.

Decision on a Request

A decision on your request may be to grant, part grant or refuse the information requested and must normally be made within one month.

The Regulations set out mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal of information.  In either case we must specify in writing the reasons for refusal.

Where the information is  held by a public authority other than the EPA we will either refer your request directly to the appropriate public  authority or advise you the appropriate public authority to whom your request should be directed.

If I'm denied access to information, can I appeal against the decision?

Yes. You may ask the EPA for an internal review by a more senior officer.  Your  request should be made within one month of receipt of notification of the decision  The internal reviewer will inform you of the result of the review within one month.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask the Commissioner for Environmental Information to review the matter.  Your request for appeal must be made within one month of the date that notification of the internal review decision has been, or was required to be, notified to you.

Do I have to pay?

No fee is charged for the making of a request under the AIE Regulations.  No fee is charged for the internal review process.

Fees may be charged for the cost of supplying the information, including the staff costs associated with compiling, copying, printing and posting of the information.  The charges will only relate to the supply of the information.  Details of the charges, if any, will be advised in the final decision letter.

The EPA has set the charges as follows:

  • If an applicant requires hard copies there may be a fee of €0.04 per sheet depending on the volume of the information contained in the request.
  • A charge of €10.16 applies to the provision of information on CD-ROM.

Assistance in Making Requests

A guide to the functions of, and records held by, the EPA are available in the FOI Section 15 Reference Book.

If you have any queries the AIE Officer, Karen Vaughey, may be contacted by telephone at +353 (0)53 9170714 or emailed at AIE@epa.ie.  

Learn more

View the AIE Legislation

Read more about how to access information under the Freedom of Information Acts