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 1st May 2007, repealing the previous legislative instrument, 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 three 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 introduction of the AIE Regulations gives 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 This Directive repealed Council Directive 90/313/EEC, which was the previous EU instrument providing for access to environmental information.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).
Please see details of this Directive here.
Public Authorities should take account of the guidelines published under Article 14 of the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007 to 2014 in performing their functions. Please see guidelines here. Please be advised that this is not a legal document.
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.
Flowchart for AIE Requests