Access to environmental information Directive 2003/4/EC—snapshot
Access to environmental information Directive 2003/4/EC—snapshot

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Access to environmental information Directive 2003/4/EC—snapshot
  • Brexit impact
  • Purpose of the AEI Directive
  • Implementation in England and Wales
  • Definition of ‘environmental information’
  • Definition of ‘public authority’
  • Supply of information
  • Form and format of information
  • Exceptions
  • Refusal to provide information
  • More...

Brexit impact

11 pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. Any changes relevant to this content will be set out below. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Purpose of the AEI Directive

TitleDirective 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information (AEI Directive)
Entry into force14 February 2003
Deadline for transposition14 February 2005
RepealingCouncil Directive 90/313/EEC (the 1990 Directive)
England and Wales implementationEnvironmental Information Regulations 2004 (the 2004 Regulations), SI 2004/3391
SubjectAccess to environmental information

In 1990, the EU adopted Council Directive 90/313/EEC on the ‘free access’ to information (the 1990 Directive). This was replaced by Directive 2003/4/EC (the AEI Directive) during the accession of the EU as a party to the 1998 UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention). Specifically, the AEI Directive implements the first pillar of the Aarhus Convention: it gives ‘public access’ and ‘guarantees

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