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Environmental information regulations

Requests for environmental information

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) 2004 give people a right of access to environmental information held by/on behalf of public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function.

Any request for information held by a public authority is technically a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in the first instance. Section 39 of the FOI Act then provides that environmental information should be dealt with under the EIRs.

What is environmental information?

The definition of environmental information is very broad and includes information on:

The state of the elements of the environment, such as:

  • Air and atmosphere
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Land
  • Landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas and biological diversity and its components
  • Genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements

Substances, such as:

  • Energy
  • Noise
  • Radiation or waste including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment

Measures (including administrative measures), such as:

  • Policies
  • Legislation
  • Plans
  • Programmes
  • Environmental agreements
  • Activities affecting or likely to affect the environment

Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation.

Cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to above.

The state of human health and safety, including:

  • The contamination of the food chain
  • Conditions of human life
  • Cultural sites and built structures, in as much as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment and interaction between them

Making a request for environmental information

To request information under the EIRs, you must:

  • Contact the council directly
  • Make the request in writing, for example in a letter or an email, or verbally to a member of staff (if you wish to make a verbal request we advise you to contact the Corporate Freedom of Information Officer, contact details below)
  • Give your real name
  • Give a postal or email address to which the council can reply

You can make a make an EIR request by emailing accessinfo@southwark.gov.uk.

Alternatively you can contact the Corporate Freedom of Information Officer at:

Southwark Council
Finance and Governance Department
Information Governance Team
PO Box 64529
London SE1P 5LX

Tel: 020 7525 7511

If you require assistance writing your request, we recommend you consult our customer service staff at a one stop shop location.

How will the council process your request for environmental information?

  • The council will usually respond to a request within 20 working days of receipt, however this time period can be extended to 40 working days if the request is complex/ voluminous
  • If your request is unclear or too general, we will contact you as soon as possible to try to determine specifically what information it is that you would like
  • When making a request for information you may state a preference as to the form / format in which you would like the information to be provided eg hardcopy / electronic etc
  • The council may charge a reasonable fee for disclosing information but not for you to inspect the information in situ
  • To prevent the disclosure of information for which there would be adverse consequences, the EIRs contain a number of exceptions which allow public authorities to withhold information
  • If the council refuses to disclose all/part of the information requested, it must state in writing what exception the information falls under and justify why the exception should be applied


If an applicant is unhappy with the response to their request, they can ask that the council conduct an internal review of its decision. Requests for an internal review should be sent to the Corporate Freedom of Information Officer using the contact details provided above, quoting the relevant reference number and explaining what aspect of the request should be reviewed.

Requests for an internal review should be sent within two months of receipt of the council’s response.

Applicants who remain dissatisfied can apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless the internal review procedure has been exhausted.

Appeals to the Information Commissioner should be addressed to:

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Tel: 030 3123 1113

Email: casework@ico.org.uk



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Information Governance Manager

Address: Information Governance Team
PO Box 64529
London SE1 5LX

Tel: 020 7525 7511



Contact us

Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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