You are entitled to request access to information on the environment that is held by us. This right comes from Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament, the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007) the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 662 of 2011) and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 615 of 2014).
Categories of information you can access
The Directive covers information held in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form. There are 6 categories of information within this Directive:
- 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
- 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 application
Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to:
Freedom of Information Officer, FOI Unit, Louth County Council, County Hall, Millennium Centre, St. Alphonsus Road, Dundalk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 or electronic form;
- provide your contact details;
- state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information required, and
- if you require the information in a specific format or manner of access, you should specify this in your request. It is not necessary to state an interest in the request.
If you require assistance in making your application or need further information you should contact us at the address above.
- There is no initial fee. However, under the AIE regulations, a reasonable fee can be charged for supplying information. The charge will be on the same basis as those applied under Freedom of Information Acts.
- Search, Retrieval and copying costs which do not exceed €100 - no fee.
- Search and Retrieval costs between €101 and €700 - fee is €20 per hour.
- Photocopying costs are 4c per page subject to a limit of €500.
- If Search, Retrieval and copying costs exceed €700, efforts should be made to narrow the scope/refine the request to bring costs down to below €700, otherwise, full costs will apply i.e. €20 per hour, 4c per page of photocopying.
- €10 per CD.
- No fee for appeals.
Requirements for dealing with requests
In general, Louth County Council is required to respond to an AIE request within one month of receipt of the request. Where, due to the complexity or volume of information required, a public authority is unable to respond within the one month timeframe, they are required to write to the applicant within the month, indicating when a response will issue. This date should not be more than two months from the receipt of the original request.
If Louth County Council does not have the information requested; it can either transfer the request to another public authority or advise the applicant of where it believes the request should be directed. In either case, it is required to notify the applicant.
Grounds for refusing information
There are 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)) and both mandatory (Article 8) and discretionary (Article 9) grounds for refusing information. When making a decision on whether to release information, a public body is required to consider the provisions in Article 10.
Appealing a decision
Under Article 11 of the AIE Regulations you have a right to seek an internal review of the initial decision. You may also request an internal review if you have not received a response within the appropriate timeframe. An internal review must be requested within one month of receipt of the original decision (the public authority may extend this timeframe but is not required to do so). There is no charge for requesting an internal review.
An internal review involves a complete reconsideration of the matter by a member of the staff of the public authority, who may affirm, vary or annul the original decision made.
A written outcome of the review informing you of the decision, the reason for the decision and advising you of your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information, including the time limits and fees associated with such an appeal, will be issued to you within one month of the date of receipt of the request for the review.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information (CEI), 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Email email@example.com. You must appeal within one month of receiving the decision on the internal review from the public authority. However, the Commissioner may extend this time limit in individual cases.
Routinely Available Information
Louth County Council make a wide range of information about its activities and services available to the public. Any member of the public can obtain such information without have to make a formal request using the AIE Regulations or any other piece of legislation.
SI. No. 133 of 2007 - European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regs 2007.pdf
S.I. 662 of 2011 European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (amendment) Regulations 2011.pdf
S.I. No. 615 of 2014 - European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment Regulations) (Amendment) Regulations 2014
European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 - 2011 - Guidance Notes.pdf
Office of Commissioner for Environmental Information