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Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 and S.I 615 of 2014) (hereafter referred to as the AIE Regulations), give legal rights to those seeking to access information on the environment from public authorities.
Under these regulations, information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public authority must be made available on request, subject to certain exceptions.  The AIE regulations also oblige public authorities to be proactive in disseminating environmental information to the public.

The AIE Regulations provide a definition of environmental information; outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities and the manner in which public authorities are required to deal with requests e.g. timeframes for response.  The regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request

What is the definition of Environmental Information?

Environmental Information can be held in any material form (including written, visual, aural or electronic) and is defined as follows:

  • 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, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms and the interaction among these elements,
  • factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment,
  • measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements,
  • 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 in paragraph (c), and
  • the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they are, or may be, affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c);

Information not available under the AIE Regulations?

The AIE Regulations do not apply to Environmental Information that is required to be made available under any other statutory provision.

Information that does not come within the scope of the definition of Environmental Information, and which is not already publicly available, as outlined above, may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2014

What is the difference between AIE and Freedom of Information?

The Access to Information on the Environment Regulations operate in parallel with the Freedom of Information Act 2014.  While the two legislative codes are broadly similar (with respect to environmental information), the AIE Regulations and the FOI Acts differ in that a wider range of public authorities are covered by the AIE Regulations than by the FOI legislation.  There are also material differences in the grounds under which access to information can be refused under the two legislative codes.

Is there a charge for getting information under AIE Regulations?

There is no initial fee required when lodging a request for information under AIE.  A Public Authority may however, charge a reasonable fee when it makes available environmental information in accordance with the Regulations. Depending on the volume of information to be released, the may be a charge for the time spent retrieving records which could, for example, include the cost of staff or other costs connected with searching, retrieving (€20 per hour), compiling or copying of the information (4 cent per sheet). 

How do I make an AIE request?

Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to:

The Forestry Appeals Committee Kilminchy Court
Dublin Road
Co. Laois
R32 DTW5


Tel: 057 8667167

When making a request for information under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations you are required to:

  • State that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations
  • Submit it in writing by post, email or fax
  • Provide your contact details
  • Specify the form and manner of access desired

The Forestry Appeals Committee will acknowledge receipt of your request in writing or via email. The acknowledgement letter will also provide you with the name and contact details of the person who will be making the decision in relation to your request and will advise you when you can expect to receive this decision. 

Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of its receipt. Where, due to the complexity or volume of information required, we are unable to respond within the one month timeframe, the applicant will be notified within the month, indicating when a response will issue.  A decision on your request may be to grant, part grant or refuse the information requested and must normally be made within one month.

The Regulations set out mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal of information.  In either case we must specify in writing the reasons for refusal.

Where the information is held by a public authority other than the Forestry Appeals Committee we will advise you the appropriate public authority to whom your request should be directed.

Where you are denied access to information, you may ask the Forestry Appeals Committee for an internal review by a more senior officer.  Your request should be made within one month of receipt of notification of the decision. The internal reviewer will inform you of the result of the review within one month.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask the Commissioner for Environmental Information to review the matter.  Your request for appeal must be made within one month of the date that notification of the internal review decision has been, or was required to be, notified to you.

How do I make an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information?

A written appeal should be submitted to the Commissioner for Environmental Information at the:

Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2. D02 W773
Tel:         +353 1 639 5600

Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office are contained on the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website at

The AIE Regulations provide that a fee of €50 must be charged for an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. However, provision is also made for a reduced appeal fee of €15 for medical card holders and their dependents and also for people, not party to the original request for access to information, who are appealing a decision to release information which they believe will affect them.

Further information in relation to this regulation can be found on the Department of Environment, Community and Local Governments website