Environment information regulations

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) apply to public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function.

To request more environmental information complete our online form.

What is environmental information?

Environmental information covers information on the state of the environment, such as:

  • air, water, soil, land, flora and fauna (including human beings).

  • information on emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances

  • measures and activities such as policies, plans and agreements

  • reports, cost benefit and economic analyses

  • the state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain

  • cultural sites and built structures (as they may be affected by environmental factors) 

Where can I find information?

Most of the information we publish can be found on this website by clicking on the Media Centre page.

What are EIR exceptions?

A request for Environmental Information can be refused where there is an exception to disclosure and the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in its disclosure. The exceptions are:

  1. Information is not held when the request is received

  2. The request is unreasonable

  3. The request is too general

  4. Information comprises incomplete data or is intended for future publication

  5. The request involves the disclosure of internal communications

  6. Information requested includes personal data where the requestor is not the data subject, in specified circumstances

  7. Disclosure would adversely affect:

    1. international relations, defence, national security and public safety;

    2. the course of justice, the ability to receive a fair trial or the ability to conduct a criminal or disciplinary inquiry;

    3. intellectual property rights;

    4. confidentiality of proceedings provided by law;

    5. commercial or industrial confidentiality;

    6. the interests of a person providing environmental information where there is no legal obligation on the person to disclose the information supplied, they did not supply it in circumstances that entitles disclosure by the public authority apart from the EIR, and the person has not consented to disclosure.

    7. protection of the environment.

However, exceptions d, e, f and g(i) do not apply when the requested information applies to emissions.

How do I make a request?

Requests can be made by anyone and can be in writing, by telephone, in person, by e-mail or other means of communication.

It will help us to process the request more efficiently if you state that it is in connection with EIR when making it and give and indication of the purpose to which the information may be put.

It is open to the person making the request to ask for information to be provided in a specific format, such as a paper copy, electronically or to inspect information.

You can make a request for information by contacting us in one of the ways outlined below:

  1. Send a letter by writing to: EIR Request. Corporate Responsibility Services, Affinity Water, Tamblin Way, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9EZ

  2. Telephone us on: 01707 277110

  3. Complete a website form which will be emailed to us.

If the information cannot be provided to you, for example if the information requested does not exist or if it is considered to be held by another public authority or there is an exception to disclosure, you will be contacted.

When making a request for information please include the following details:

  • The information you would like to access

  • The format you would prefer – ie: paper, electronic, inspection at our offices (by appointment)

  • Your name and address / telephone number so that you can be contacted.

How quickly will my request be dealt with?

The timescale for dealing with your request is 20 days from receipt of the request by us. This timescale applies to:

  • Advising whether the information does not exist

  • Advising if it considered to be held by another public authority

  • Advising that we will need to consult with a third party who has provided / has rights in the information requested

  • Advising if there is an exception to disclosure

  • Providing the information requested

  • Advising that the request does not fall within the scope of the EIR

This can be extended to 40 working days where the request is complex or voluminous.

If there is a charge for the information, the time to respond will begin once the payment has been received.

Is there a charge for fulfilling the request?

The EIR allow us to make a reasonable charge for providing environmental information though you will not have to pay for:

  • information available on our website

  • copies of any of our publications e.g. leaflets or reports that are already available

  • inspecting public registers or examining information at our offices

In certain circumstances we have the discretion to ask for a charge in order to research and provide the information to fulfil a request for environmental information. The following fees will be advised prior to the work commencing:

  • £250 (+ VAT) for up to 5 hours work to cover administration, research and report delivery

  • £50 per hour (+ VAT) for any additional work required

Once you have submitted an EIR request form, our team will evaluate this and provide you with a quote for the total job. To make payment you can use a credit/debit card over the phone or if your enquiry is not urgent, you can choose to receive an invoice and send us a cheque in the post. All charges are payable in advance before the work can begin so your request will be dealt with within 20 days of cleared payment being received.

I'm not happy with how Affinity Water dealt with my request

If you made a request but you do not feel that we dealt with it in accordance with the EIR, you have the right to register a complaint as follows:

Step 1 - The Affinity Water complaints procedure
Click here and type in 'complaints procedure' to find out how to make a complaint

Step 2 - The Information Commissioner
If you are unsatisfied with the Affinity Water complaints procedure, you should contact this national body:

Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545745
Fax: 01625 524510
Web: Information Commissioner
 

 

 

Further information
For further information about the EIR, visit:
Information Commissioner