Environmental Information Regulations 2004—issues for businesses
Produced in partnership with Patrick Senior of Stephenson Harwood
Environmental Information Regulations 2004—issues for businesses

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Patrick Senior of Stephenson Harwood provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004—issues for businesses
  • When is a business considered to be a public authority?
  • Businesses that interact with public authorities
  • Public authority's duty to disclose information
  • Information commonly provided through business interactions with public authorities
  • Protection from disclosure
  • Exception 12(5)(c)—intellectual property rights
  • Exception 12(5)(e)—confidentiality
  • How can businesses use the EIR 2004 to their advantage?

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004), SI 2004/3391 poses a risk to businesses through exposure of sensitive commercial information. However, the EIR 2004 can also be used to provide business with access to commercially valuable information.

A business is most at risk in two main instances: (1) when a private business is deemed a public authority; or (2) when a private business interacts with a public authority.

This Practice Note outlines methods that businesses may use to protect against unwanted disclosure of information, and how businesses may use the EIR 2004 to their advantage.

For more on EIR 2004, see Practice Notes:

  1. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—what is environmental information?

  2. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—request for environmental information

  3. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—responding to a request

  4. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—clarifying requests

  5. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—exceptions

  6. Differences between Environmental Information Regulations and Freedom of Information Act

  7. Environmental Information Regulations 2004—appeals and enforcement

When is a business considered to be a public authority?

It is possible that a private business may be deemed to be a public authority, and therefore be fully subject to the disclosure requirements of the EIR 2004. This is a possibility for businesses that carry out public administrative functions (these functions do not need to be environment-related), or the business is a person under the control of a public authority (eg a council-controlled organisation).

Entities should continue to check whether

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