Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)
Access to information on the environment is important to enable members of the public to know and understand what is happening in the environment around them. It also assists the public to participate in environmental decision making in an informed manner.
The government ensures that members of the public have this access through implementation of the AIE Regulations in Ireland.
Environmental information held by, or for, a public authority should be provided to any person who requests it from public authorities under the AIE Regulations. Particular procedures apply to this process and access to information may be refused in certain circumstances. There is also an appeals process in case a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.
Requests under the AIE Regulations should be made to the public authority which the applicant believes holds the information.
Making a Request
The Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations 2007-2018 gives you the right to access environmental information held by, or for, Public Authorities.
Please state in your email / letter that your request is submitted under the AIE Regulations 2007-2018. To help streamline the AIE application process and to ensure a timely response to all requests, we have developed an AIE application form.
If you wish to request access to environmental information held by, or for, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), simply complete the above form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can post it to: AIE Unit, Access to Information on the Environment, Corporate Support Unit, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Elm House, Earlsvale Road , Cavan , H12 A8H7
A request must state that it is being made under the AIE Regulations.
Since January 2018, DECC publishes all non-personal requests and replies online.
DECC requires customers to provide certain personal data in order to provide services and carry out the functions of the department. Your personal data may be exchanged with other government departments and agencies in certain circumstances, where lawful. Full details can be found in the Data Privacy Notice, which is available here or in hard copy upon request.
When can I expect a response to my request?
DECC will notify you of the decision on your request within one month of our receiving it.
On receipt of an AIE request, DECC will issue you with an acknowledgement letter outlining the date the request was received and the latest date by which a decision will be issued.
Will it cost me anything?
There is no fee to make a request under AIE Regulations. However, the regulations do allow a public authority to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of supplying the environmental information.
DECC has set the following charges:
- search, retrieval and copying of records: €20 per hour
- photocopy: €0.04 per sheet
- CD Rom: €10
- radiograph: €6
Details of any charges that apply will be advised in the final decision letter. Please note that the fee may be waived where the cost is estimated at less than €100.
We may also disregard charges if the record contains only personal information and if, having regard to the means of the requester, it would not be reasonable to apply one.
What if I am unhappy with a decision?
You can request an internal review of the decision if your request for environmental information has been either wholly or partially refused, or if you believe it has not been dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the AIE Regulations. You should make this request for an internal review within one month of receiving the final decision.
Requests for internal reviews should be submitted to: AIE Unit, Access to Information on the Environment, Corporate Support Unit, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Elm House, Earlsvale Road , Cavan , H12 A8H7
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (OCEI) to review the matter. You should request an appeal to the OCEI within one month of receiving the decision of the internal review.
The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 133 of 2007), gives legal rights to those seeking access to information on the environment from public authorities.
These Regulations came into effect on 1 May 2007, repealing the previous legislation, the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 1998. S.I. 662 of 2011, S.I. 615 of 2014 and S.I. 309 of 2018 revised these regulations further.
The amalgamation of these four pieces of legislation should be read together as one, and may be referred to as the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2018.
An unofficial consolidation of the Regulations is available here.
Information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public authority must be made available on request to any person subject to certain exceptions.
The Regulations provide a definition of environmental information and outline the manner in which requests for information should be provided to public authorities. The Regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.
The AIE Regulations give effect in Ireland to Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on Public Access to Environmental Information (the AIE Directive). This Directive repealed Council Directive 90/313/EEC, which was the previous EU instrument providing for access to environmental information.
The EU adopted the AIE Directive to give effect to the Access to Information pillar of the 1998 UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention).
Public Authorities should take account of the guidelines published under Article 14 of the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007 to 2018 in performing their functions. The guidelines will assist public authorities who hold environmental information. They will also benefit the general public and others who wish to exercise their rights to access environmental information. Please be advised that this is not a legal document.
Guidance for Public Authorities and others on implementation of the AIE Regulations
Flowchart for AIE Requests
DECC have published a suite of template letters to facilitate AIE officers and decision makers in responding to AIE requests.
AIE Statistics and Disclosure Log
DECC maintains a record of all AIE requests that it receives and posts summaries online for reference purposes. The department also maintains a database of the number of AIE requests received by all public authorities.
AIE Disclosure Log
A database of AIE statistics has been maintained since 2013. This shows the numbers of AIE requests received by all public bodies nationally, along with certain other relevant details. Please note that the list of public authorities who have provided statistics return is not exhaustive. If a public body is not included here, this does not mean it is not subject to the AIE Regulations.
National AIE Statistics