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 Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government.

Recent Decisions


In accordance with article 12(5) of the Regulations, the Commissioner reviewed BnM's decision to refuse the appellant's AIE request. He found that BnM was justified in refusing the appellant's request on the basis that no relevant information was held by or for BnM. Accordingly, the Commissioner affirmed the refusal of the appellant's request.
15 Jun 2017

Summary of Commissioner's Decision: The Commissioner found that refusal was not justified on the ground of article 4, but was justified on the ground of article 8(a)(iv). Accordingly, he affirmed the Council’s decision and did not require it to make environmental information available to the appellant.
22 Jun 2017

The Commissioner found that the EPA was justified in refusing the request under article 9(2)(a) of the AIE Regulations because the request was manifestly unreasonable. Accordingly, he affirmed the EPA’s decision and did not require it to make environmental information available to the appellant.
01 Jun 2017

Summary of Commissioner's Decision: The Commissioner found that the Council's decision was not justified, because it did not find that the requested information was not held by another natural or legal person on its behalf. The Commissioner found that the information was not held by or for the Council, and, accordingly, he affirmed refusal of the request
22 May 2017