FOIMan begins an exploration of the Environmental Information Regulations.
The rabbit hole in question is also known as section 39 of the UK FOI Act (and also of the Scotland Act, for that matter), which leads, of course, to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). It always seems to me that the EIRs are somewhat neglected so I’ve chosen to devote a series of articles for PDP’s Freedom of Information Journal to an exploration of them.
In the first in the series – available here – I look at why there are separate regulations covering environmental information at all, and what exactly is environmental information. The next piece will look at the main differences between FOI and the EIRs, whilst the last piece will examine the exceptions. You can read the whole series by subscribing to the Freedom of Information Journal (external link) or just by keeping an eye out for the later articles here on the FOIMan website (and you can ensure you don’t miss them by subscribing to FOIMan posts via the box in the column on the right).
If you want training on the EIRs, I can provide this in-house – just get in touch for a quote. Or you can attend one of the courses I’m running for Act Now Training (external link) later this year.
Is it your impression that the Government intended the EIR exemption to be subject to the public interest test, or do you think it’s a simple drafting error?
Thanks Doug. I’ve never got to the bottom of this and if anyone else knows, it would be good to hear. The fact that it also appears in the Scottish Act suggests it isn’t an accident unless we’re particularly accident prone. Which is certainly possible.
Do you think the EIRs will be repealed when the UK leaves the EU?
Jane, nobody really knows what will happen to the EIRs as with much else post-Brexit. I think if that does happen, it will be a long way down the priority list. But it may be something that happens eventually.