The Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Reference: UK/2004/SI/3391

If you are a public authority you have a legal obligation under The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to provide information about the environment through an approved publication scheme and in response to requests.

What is environmental information?

Environmental information includes

  • the state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land;
  • emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances;
  • measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment;
  • reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses used in these policies, plans and agreements;
  • the state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain and cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment).

European Directive

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 implement Council Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC (OJ No. L 41, 14.2.2003, p.26), except in relation to Scottish public authorities (as specified in section 80(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and defined in section 3 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 implement the Directive in respect of Scottish public authorities.The regulations apply to public authorities, except for the Houses of Commons & Lords.

Environmental information must be made available to the public electronically and is easily accessible. Public authorities have 20 days in which to provide the information following a request. A charge can be made to the applicant for providing information, but not for viewing a public list.

The Regulations apply to most public authorities that are covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, but they can also apply to any organisation or person carrying out a public administration function, and any organisation or person that is under the control of a public authority and has environmental responsibilities.

Further Information