Ensuring Access to Environmental Information

The role of the Commissioner for Environmental Information is to decide on appeals by members of the public who are not satisfied with the outcome of their requests to public authorities for environmental information.

Everyone has the right to request certain environmental information from public authorities under the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (the AIE Regulations). These Regulations give effect in Ireland to Directive 2003/4/EC, which was adopted to give effect to the Access to Information pillar of the Aarhus Convention.

The Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (OCEI) was established by the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007. The role of the Commissioner is to decide on appeals by members of the public who are not satisfied with the outcome of their requests to public authorities for environmental information.

Specifically, the Regulations provide that the Commissioner can review decisions of public authorities, and in accordance with law, the Commissioner can make binding decisions on access to environmental information.

The Regulations provide for a fee of €50 (reduced to €15 for medical card holders) to be paid by those wishing to appeal. Before the OCEI can accept an appeal, the appellant must show that he or she has availed of the right to internal review of the public authority's decision.
A consolidated version of the AIE Regulations and Directive 2003/4/EC, along with a guidance note on the Access to Information on the Environment system, are available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government.

Recent Decisions


In accordance with Article 12(5) of the AIE Regulations, the Commissioner reviewed the decision of the EPA. He varied the decision of the EPA and found that the EPA has taken has taken all reasonable steps to provide the appellant with the information sought and that Article 7(5) applies to any further information which, in the appellant's view, should be made available to him.
01 Oct 2015

In accordance with Article 12(5) of the AIE Regulations, the Commissioner reviewed the decision of the EPA. He affirmed its decision and found that it was justified in refusing access to the information sought on the grounds that the request did not comply with Article 6(1)(d) of the Regulations i.e. the requirement that a request shall state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that is the subject of the request.
01 Oct 2015

In accordance with Article 12(5) of the AIE Regulations, the Commissioner reviewed the decision of the EPA. He affirmed its decision and found that it was justified in refusing access to the information sought on the grounds of Article 6(1)(d) of the Regulations i.e. the requirement that a request shall state, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that is the subject of the request.
01 Oct 2015

The Commissioner found that the requested information is environmental information within the meaning of the Regulations and found that refusal to provide access was not justified The Commissioner annulled Coillte's decision and directed Coillte to provide access to the information requested
01 Oct 2015