You have rights to ask for information that relates to the environment under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
These regulations were introduced to coincide with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and directly incorporate the definition of environmental information from the European Directive 2003/4/EC.
The regulations provide access to environmental information in a similar way to Freedom of Information. Requests dealt with under Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations can be in written or verbal form and should be answered within 20 working days, with additional time allowed for complex enquiries.
What is environmental information?
Information about the environment, earth, air, water, living organisms or any force or activity that could affect the environment or human health.
The regulations apply to any information in written, visual, oral, electronic or any other form. Authorities are obliged to release information held and are not required to research or manipulate data to create new information.
EI(S)R relate to the state of the elements of the environment including air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites.
Factors referred to include substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment.
EI(S)R measures include policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements and activities affecting or likely to affect elements and factors. Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation are also covered.
The regulations also include:
- Cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the measures
- The state of human health and safely including contamination of the food chain, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures.
Further details of the definition can be found in advice from the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner.
The Scottish Executive Environmental Group has published a Code of Practice on the Discharge of Functions by Scottish Public Authorities under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
EIR fees and charges
As with Freedom of Information (FOI), it is possible to charge a fee for providing environmental information on request. All fees for environmental information requests must be paid in advance. EIR Fees and Charging (Word, 16kb)
Freedom of Information and EI(S)R
A list of the differences between EI(S)R and FOISA can be found on the Scottish Information Commissioner's website.