Access to Information on the Environment

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment Regulations) 2007 to 2018.  (S.I No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011, S.I. No. 615 of 2014 & S.I. No. 309 of 2018)

The Access to information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations give you the right to access Environmental Information held by, or for, the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR).  A decision on your request must normally be made as soon as possible but at the latest one month from the date of receipt of the request.

What information can I request?

You can request environmental information held by, or for, the OPR.   Environmental Information is defined in the AIE Regulations and determines what is available under the AIE Regulations.

The environmental information you require may already be available on the OPR’s website. If the information is on our website, you will not have to go through the AIE process.

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 above as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements
  • Cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used for the above measures and activities
  • 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 that may be affected by the elements of the environment
  • Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation

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, as outlined above, may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2014

How do I make an AIE request?

Write to the AIE Officer, Block C, 77 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, D02 VK60 or email aie@opr.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 such as telephone number,
  • 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 OPR 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 OPR 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 Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (OCEI) to review the matter.  You should request an appeal to the OCEI within one month of receiving the decision of the internal review.  Further information on submitting an appeal to the OCEI is available here.

Do I have to pay?

There is no fee to make a request under AIE Regulations. However, the regulations do allow a public authority to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of supplying the environmental information.

The OPR has set the following charges:

Search, retrieval and copying of records: €20.00 per hour

Photocopy: €0.04 per sheet

CD Rom: €10.00

Details of any charges that apply will be advised in the final decision letter.

Please note that the fee may be waived where the cost is estimated at less than €100.00.

We may also disregard charges if the record contains only personal information and if, having regard to the means of the requester, it would not be reasonable to apply one.

 Assistance in Making Requests

A guide to the functions of, and records held by, the OPR are available in the Freedom of Information Publication Scheme.

If you have any queries the AIE Officer may be contacted by telephone at +353 (0)76 100 2756 or by email aie@opr.ie.