Environmental Information Regulations 2004—responding to a request
Produced in partnership with Patrick Senior of Stephenson Harwood
Environmental Information Regulations 2004—responding to a request

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

  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004—responding to a request
  • Brexit impact
  • The role of information teams in public authorities
  • What constitutes a request for information?
  • When should a request be handled informally?
  • What is the next step having received a request?
  • Requirement to respond
  • What form should the response take?
  • Handling difficult requests
  • Can the environmental information be withheld?
  • more

When responding to a request for information, the first step should be to determine whether the information requested is environmental information, and therefore whether the request falls within the remit of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004), SI 2004/3391 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FIA 2000).

For clean guidance on this, see Practice Note: Environmental Information Regulations 2004—what is environmental information?

This Practice Note focuses on the next steps that a public authority should take on receiving a request for environmental information.

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 Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

The role of information teams in public authorities

Public authorities should ensure that their employees and contractors are aware of the obligations placed on them by the EIR 2004 so that they understand the significance of requests for information.

Public authorities should also allocate responsibility for handling requests for information to a specific person or department, forming an 'information team'. It is advisable to create a centralised approach to