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 providing environmental information to the public.
The AIE Regulations provide a definition of environmental information and 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. An unofficial consolidation of the regulations is available at the link below.
What is the difference between AIE and Freedom to Information (FOI)?
The AIE 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 the AIE Regulations?
There is no initial fee for making an application under AIE Regulations. However, a public authority may charge a reasonable fee for supplying the information requested. This may include the cost of compiling, copying, printing or posting of information.
The SFPA has set the following charges:
- Search, retrieval and copying of records: €20.00 per hour
- Photocopy: €0.04 per sheet
- CD Rom: €10.00
Details of any charges that apply will be advised in the final decision letter.
Please note that the fee may be waived where the cost is estimated at less than €100.00.
We may also disregard charges if the record contains only personal information
How do I make an AIE request?
Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Sea Fisheries Protection Authority
National Seafood Centre
Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Tel: 023 8859300
When making a request for information under the AIE Regulations you are required to:
- State that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations
- Submit it in writing by post, emai.l
- Provide your contact details
- Specify the form and manner of access desired
Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within one month of its receipt. Where, due to the complexity or volume of information required, we are unable to respond within the one-month timeframe, we are required to write to the applicant within the month, indicating when a response will be issued. This date should not be more than two months from the receipt of the original request.
A written outcome of the review informing you of the decision, the reason for the decision and advising you of your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information, including the time limits and fees associated with such an appeal, will be issued to you within one month of the date of receipt of the request.
What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request
If you believe that your request for environmental information was refused (fully or in part) or was not properly handled in line with AIE Regulations, you may request that the SFPA carry out an internal review of the decision in part or in whole. You must request this review within one month of receiving a decision. The review will be carried out by a more senior member of staff.
No fee will be charged for the internal review process.
Within one month of receiving your review request, we will write to you to inform you of the decision and the reason for the decision. We will also advise you of your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information.
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:
Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,
6 Earlsfort Terrace,
Telephone: 01- 6395689
Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office are contained on the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website at www.oic.ie.
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 that they believe will affect them.
Further information in relation to this regulation can be found on the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment website at the link below:
Any personal data provided to the SFPA’s FOI Unit for the purpose of processing your AIE request will be held safely and securely by the FOI Unit. When the business need to retain this information has expired it will be examined with a view to destroying the personal data as soon as possible, and in line with SFPA policy. Further information on Data Protection can be found on our website at the link below.