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Environmental Information Regulations

The Right of Access

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 grants members of the public the right to access environmental information held by public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Environmental information comprises:

  • The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (including human beings).
  • Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances.
  • Measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment.
  • Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses.
  • The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain.
  • Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment).

Please note that Ordnance Survey maps and data are not classified as environmental information under EIR. They are primarily concerned with the state of, or effects upon, the environment. Our map data does not indicate either; it merely shows that a topographical feature exists in a particular geographic position and does not declare either the state of a feature or whether any activity has an effect upon it.

Requests for access to our mapping data under EIR will be treated under the section 6 (1) (b) exception under EIR.

Access to information under the EIR is subject to exceptions. If an exception applies, access to the information may be refused, although some exceptions in the regulations are subject to a public interest test. This means that we must explain why the public interest in withholding information outweighs that of disclosure. There is a general presumption in favour of disclosure.

Although we do not normally charge for providing information in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations, the regulations do allow us to apply a fee for ‘making environmental information available’. The cost of ‘making information available’ is limited to the disbursements incurred in transferring the information to you.

How to make a request

If you are unable to locate the information you require from our products, website, publication scheme or previous FOI & EIR enquiries log you may make a request under the EIR. There are no restrictions on how to make requests under EIR. Whilst you can submit your request by phone, making your request in writing ensures that we have an accurate record of your request.

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