Access to Information on the Environment

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment Regulations) 2007 to 2014

(S.I No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 & S.I. No. 615 of 2014)

Introduction

The Access to information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations give you the right to access environmental information held by, or for, the Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank).

Your Rights

Under the AIE Regulations, you can request access to environmental information held by, or for, the Central Bank and the Central Bank must make this information available, subject to certain exceptions.

The AIE Regulations define “environmental information” and specify the type of information you can request under the AIE Regulations. The environmental information you require may already be available on the Central Bank website.

What is “Environmental Information”?

The AIE Regulations defined “environmental information” as “any information in written, visual, aural electronic or any other material form on:

  1. 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,
  2. 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,
  3. 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,
  4. reports on the implementation of environmental legislation,
  5. cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in paragraph (c), and
  6. 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 made available under any other statutory provision.

It may be possible for you to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 where the information sought does not come within the scope of the definition of environmental information and is not publicly available.

How Do I Make an AIE Request?

E-mail john.sammin@centralbank.ie or write to:

AIE Officer
Central Bank of Ireland
New Wapping Street
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
D01 F7X3

In your correspondence, you should:

  • State that your request is being made under the AIE Regulations
  • Provide your name, address and any other relevant contact details
  • State, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that is the subject of the request
  • Specify the format in which you would prefer to receive the information.

Decision on a Request

The Central Bank must normally reach a decision on your request to grant, part grant or refuse the information as soon as possible but at the latest within one month from the date of receipt of the request.

Where, due to the complexity or volume of information requested, we are unable to respond within that timeframe, we will write to you within the timeframe indicating when a response will issue.

The Regulations set out mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal of information and in both case, the Central Bank must specify in writing the reasons for refusal.

Where a public body other than the Central Bank holds the information, we will either refer your request directly to that public authority or advise you of the relevant public authority to whom you may direct your request.

Can I Appeal an AIE Decision?

Yes. You may ask the Central Bank for an internal review by an officer unconnected with the original decision of the same or higher rank. You must request an internal review within one month of receipt of the Central Bank’s original decision or if you have not received a response within the required timeframe.

The internal reviewer will inform you in writing of the outcome of the internal review within one month. The internal reviewer may affirm, vary, or annul the original decision.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. Your appeal must be made within one month of the date that the internal review decision has been, or was required to be, notified to you.

Do I Have to Pay?

There is no fee for requesting access to information under the AIE Regulations or for the internal review process.

The Central Bank may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of supplying the information requested, including for the costs of compiling, copying, printing or posting the information. The charges will only relate to the supply of the information. The Central Bank will provide details of any charges in the final decision letter.

The Central Bank has set the charges as follows:

  • Where an applicant requires hard copy documents, there may be a fee of €0.04 per sheet depending on the volume of the information contained in the request
  • A charge of €10 will apply for information on CD-ROM.

The cost of an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information is €50 or €15 if you are a medical card holder, a dependent of a medical card holder, or a third party appealing the decision to release certain information.

Further information is available on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information.

Assistance in Making Requests

Further details on records held by the Central Bank are available under Corporate Social Responsibility.

If you have any queries, contact AIE Officer John Sammin:

Phone: +353 01 224 6080
E-mail: john.sammin@centralbank.ie