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’
  • Supply of information
  • Form and format of information
  • Exceptions
  • Refusal to provide information
  • Charges for information
  • More...

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see: Brexit—impact on environmental law and Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

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

Purpose of the AEI Directive

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 the right of access to environmental information’ held by public authorities or those performing a public function.

The right is extended to any natural or

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