An Bord Pleanála

Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007 – 2011

General Information on the Access to Information on the

Environment Regulations

Information available under the AIE regulations

Under the AIE Regulations, anyone is entitled to apply to An Bord Pleanála for access to environmental information that is held by, or for, An Bord Pleanála.

The Regulations do not apply to information which is already required by a statutory provision to be made publicly available. For example, An Bord Pleanála is required by a statutory provision under the Planning Acts to provide full access to decided case files within three working days of a decision by An Bord Pleanála. In addition the Board decision order and direction and any inspector’s report relating to a particular case are also available on the Board’s website within the same timeframe (www.pleanala.ie).

Making a request for information under the AIE Regulations

Requests for information under the Regulations should be addressed to:

Access to Information on the Environment Officer
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Dublin 1.
Phone (01) 858 8100
Fax (01) 872 2684
Email aie@pleanala.ie

Any request must:

• Be made in writing and posted, delivered by hand or sent by email

• State that the request is being made under the AIE regulations

• Provide the name, address and any other relevant contact details of the person making the request

• State, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information being requested and if the information is requested to be accessed in a particular form or manner

It is not necessary to state why a request is being made.

Time Limits on Decisions Following a Request

An Bord Pleanála is required to respond to any AIE request not later than one month from the date on which the request was received except in cases where it informs the person making the request, prior to the expiration of that period, that it is unable to so do because of the volume or complexity of the environmental information requested. In a case where the decision is deferred the notice to the person making the request must specify the date when a decision will be made and this shall be not later than 2 months from the date of receipt of the request. Where a decision is not notified to the applicant within the relevant period a decision refusing the request shall be deemed to have been made by An Bord Pleanála on the date of expiry of the period.

Decision on a Request

An Bord Pleanála is entitled to refuse a request in whole or in part on the basis, inter alia, that it would adversely affect the confidentiality of personal information or the confidentiality of the proceedings of An Bord Pleanála where such confidentiality is otherwise protected by law or where a request concerns material in the course of completion. It can also refuse a request on the basis that the request is manifestly unreasonable having regard to the volume or range of information sought or that a request is formulated in too general a manner. Where a request is refused the reason(s) for refusal will be stated in the notification of same and will also indicate that an internal review of the decision can be requested.

Internal Review of a Decision

Where a request for access to information has been refused in whole or in part the person making the request can request An Bord Pleanála to review this initial decision. Any such review request must be made not later than one month following receipt of the initial decision. It should also be noted that the review is carried out by a person unconnected with the original decision.

A request for an internal review should be addressed to:

Access to Information on the Environment Review Officer
An Bord Pleanála,
64 Marlborough Street,
Dublin 1.
Phone (01) 858 8100
Fax (01) 872 2684

Email aie@pleanala.ie

An Bord Pleanála must notify you of the review decision within one month from receipt of the request for internal review.

The Internal Review Officer can affirm, vary or annul the initial decision on the request and where appropriate, require the release of environmental information.

Appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information

An appeal can be made against the internal review decision to the Commissioner for Environmental Information not later than one month after the receipt of that decision or deemed decision or within such extended time limit as may be determined by the Commissioner.

Details of how to make such an appeal can be viewed on the website of the Commissioner at www.ocei.gov.ie.

Appeals should be addressed to:

The Officer of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,

18 Lower Leeson Street,

Dublin 2.

Phone (01) 639 5689

Lo-call 1890 253238

Email info@ocei.ie

Fees

No fee is charged for making a request under the AIE regulations, or for making a request for internal review. There is a fee for making an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information.

However fees may be charged when An Bord Pleanála makes copies of information available in response to a request. The charges will only relate to the supply of copies of the information. Any fees will be in accordance with the fees charged for copying material under An Bord Pleanála’s public access to decided cases system. (see www.pleanala.ie)

Other Relevant Information

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has produced general Guidance Notes on the Regulations and these, together with the text of the Regulations, can be accessed on its website at www.environ.ie. That Department’s website also contains links to related information including relevant European Union Directives and the United Nations/Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the “Aarhus Convention”).

The foregoing summary of the Regulations does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the Regulations.

March, 2014.

Last modified: 31/03/2014