Environmental Information Regulations
The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) came into effect on 1st January 2005, along with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
These Regulations give the public increased access to environmental information held by public authorities. It is part of a wider group of policies to ensure that decision making is more open and accountable. The aim of these Regulations is to increase public participation in decision-making processes.
When a request for information is submitted to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, we have to determine what category of information is being requested. If the information requested is classed as environmental information under the Regulations then we deal with the request as a request for information under the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations.
What is regarded as environmental information under the Regulations?
The Regulations increase the criteria of what is environmental information. For further advice and guidance read Regulation 2 of the Environmental Information Regulations or contact the Freedom of Information Team.
What type of information falls under the Environmental Information Regulations?
The Regulations state that it is the duty of authorities to release environmental information when it is requested.
This applies to all information that is held by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority or on behalf of the Authority, including information that is held by consultants and private companies on behalf of the Authority. Information that was collated by the Authority before the Regulations came into force are also accessible through these Regulations.
Will there be a charge for the information I request?
The Regulations allow the Authority to charge a 'reasonable amount' for environmental information. Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, the Authority cannot refuse to release information on the grounds that it is too expensive to produce.
If a charge is imposed, the Authority can request payment in advance from you before the requested information is released. If there is a charge, we will contact you within 20 working days of receipt of the request for information.
What are exceptions?
Under the Regulations, information that is exempt is classed as an exception. The reason for this is that under the Regulations it is presumed that the Authority will disclose the information requested.
There are fewer exceptions under the Regulations compared to the Freedom of Information Act. These come under the category of 'qualified exceptions', where the Authority looks at each case individually and determines whether it is in the public interest to release the information requested.