The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) give people the right to receive information that the council holds about environmental matters.
The Corporate Information Team co-ordinates the council's response to requests for information made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and ensures that the information is provided within the statutory time limit.
The EIR came into force at the same time as the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000 and give the public the right to obtain information that the council holds about matters relating to the environment. Freedom of Information Act (FOI) does not give the public this right, so the two pieces of legislation complement each other.
The term 'environment' is defined very broadly in the Regulations. It covers elements of the environment such as air, water, soil, land and landscapes, built structures including ancient monuments, and ecological issues. It also covers measures that might be taken that affect the environment. Any requests for information about matters relating to the environment must be responded to using the Environmental Information Regulations.
After we have received a request for information under EIR, we have a deadline of 20 days in which to respond, although this can be extended to 40 days in complex cases. Requests can be made in writing (including emails and faxes) or orally. The request does not need to state that the information is required under the Environmental Information Regulations.
When we receive a request we will decide whether there will be a fee for providing the information. This is determined by the time it will take and the paper, postage, etc if a hard copy is needed. We will also assess whether it is appropriate to disclose all of the information that has been requested. Sometimes we need to withhold some or all of the information - if we do decide that we cannot disclose information that has been requested we will explain why we have made that decision. The decision will always be made in line with the exemptions provided in the legislation and we always prefer to disclose information whenever possible.
After the information has been released, there is an appeals procedure if you feel we have not provided the information requested.
There are no special requirements for making a request. It would be helpful if you could be very clear in explaining precisely what information you need. This will keep the costs down for you, and ensure we only provide the information you really want.
The council's cabinet has determined that Wiltshire Council will charge a fee for complying with requests under the legislation. In making this decision, it has balanced the need to be transparent and accountable to the public against the need to be responsible in its use of resources.
Table of charges:
- The hourly rate for officer or contractor time is £25, under 18 hours of work is free of charge once 18 hours is exceeded the total is charged for.
- The cost of photocopying and printing is 10p per page. Double sided pages are charged at 20p per page
- The cost of postage will be the estimated actual cost of postage
- All other charges (e.g. CD-ROMS, video tapes) will be charged at actual cost
Payment is made by cheque payable to Wiltshire Council. We cannot accept cash payments.
There are no eligibility requirements for this service.
Last updated: 4 February 2011