The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provide a public right of access to environmental information that is held by public authorities. This refers to any information that is written, aural, visual, electronic or any other material form on the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, emissions, etc.

The Regulations are derived from European law and implement the European Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information (the EC directive) in the UK.  The aim of this is to provide the public with access to environmental information to:

  • encourage greater awareness of issues that affect the environment
  • increase public participation in decision-making
  • make public bodies more transparent and accountable

Requests for environmental information can be made verbally or in writing, however to avoid any doubt about whether a request was actually received or a dispute about how the request has been interpreted, the council encourages all requests to made in writing.  

Requests under the Regulations can be submitted to the council via the FOI webform facility or by e-mail to legalservices@northdevon.gov.uk.  The Regulations stipulate that requests for environmental information should be made available as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days, however for more complex requests the Regulations permit authorities to extend the 20 working day limit to 40 working days.  The council would then be required to notify the requester of this, no later than 20 working days after the date the request is received by the council.

More detailed information on the regulations can be found on the Information Commissioners website