Environmental information regulations
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 came into force on 1 January 2005. The Regulations grant the public the right to access a wide range of environmental information held by the Council.
What is environmental information?
- Any information relating to the state of the elements including land, water, air, flora or fauna
- Any information about activities which adversely affect the environment, including energy, noise, radiation and other nuisances
- Any information about measures which are designed to protect the environment such as policies, legislation, plans, environmental agreements and cost benefit and economic analyses
- Information held by the Council such as information relating to road, traffic, maintenance, land use planning, development control, buildings and estates is also considered to be environmental information
What exceptions apply?
The EIR do not require the disclosure of information falling within the following
categories where it is not in the public interest to disclose the information:
- Information not held by the Council
- Manifestly unreasonable requests
- Requests that are too general to respond to
- Disclosure of internal communications
- Disclosure would adversely affect:
- Intellectual property rights
- The confidentiality of public authority proceedings where the requirement of confidentiality is imposed by law
- The course of justice
- Public safety
- Confidential commercial information
- Any person’s interests where they have provided information voluntarily, the Council is
not required to disclose the information by law and the person does not consent to its disclosure
- The protection of the environment to which the information relates
- Personal information
How do the regulations interact with other ways of accessing Council information?
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The EIR and Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) both allow access to Council
held information. Freedom of information covers all Council held information but excludes environmental information – as this can be requested under the EIR. When we receive your request, we will determine which access regime applies and advise you accordingly.
You should also note that there are some other differences between FOIA and EIR requests:
- There are different exemptions to disclosure under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (click on the link above for details).
- The Council may make reasonable charges as it sees fit for allowing access to any environmental information – under FOIA costs can only be charged if it would take over 18 hours of work to comply with the request
Other access regimes and public registers
The Council makes a lot of environmental information available in public registers and under other legislation, for example including planning, highways, tree preservation and food safety. You should access the information using these registers. Charges may apply. In such cases, we will advise you how to access the information.
Data Protection – Personal Information
Personal information, either about yourself or other people, cannot be accessed under the EIR. We will deal with any request for personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998 (for information about yourself) or FOIA (for information about other people).
The Council may make a reasonable charge for making environmental information available.
How do I make a request?
Details on how to make a request for information are available on the Freedom of Information page. However, requests for environmental information can be made over the telephone. Although, there is no requirement to make a written request, putting your request in writing is likely to speed up any response.
Before making a request, it is recommended that you check the list of published Council information on the Council’s Publication Scheme.
To make a request for information, you can also call Waltham Forest Direct on 020
8496 3000. The call agents will fill in the form over the phone and forward it to the Information Officer for you.
Alternatively, you can complete the request yourself:
- Request form ( PDF file)
If you do complete the form yourself, please make sure you include all the mandatory information identified on the form (this is the information that we need to have to deal with your request).
In most circumstances, information should be supplied within 20 working days. This deadline may be extended for complex and/or voluminous requests to 40 working days.