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Environmental Information Regulations

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 allow public access to information held by Northumbria that relates directly to the environment in any of the following areas:

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 allow public access to information held by Northumbria that relates directly to the environment in any of the following areas: 

  • Air
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Land
  • Flora and, fauna
  • Biodiversity
  • Emissions
  • Noise
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Health and safety

Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) Requests

Unlike Freedom of Information requests, requests for information under the EIR are not required to be submitted in writing.

The University has up 40 working days to respond to EIR requests, as opposed to 20 under FOI. That does not necessarily mean it will take the full 40 days to respond.

Unlike FOI, it is not possible to refuse the request on the grounds of cost, however, it is possible to charge the applicant if the request results in an excessive amount of reproduction. In this instance the same Fees as used under FOI will be applied.

To submit an EIR request, please contact:

Records and Information Manager,
Ellison Building, 
Newcastle upon Tyne, 
NE1 8ST. 
Tel. +44 (0)191 243 7357 
Fax +44 (0)191 227 4647


The University will disclose Environmental Information in most cases as unlike with FOI, there are no Absolute Exemptions. There is however a set of Exceptions that may be used to refuse a request, subject to the public interest test. In this instance, the University will provide a full explanation as to why the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) Exceptions

The possible exceptions include:

The Information is not held

If the University does not hold the information, it is not able to provide it.

Personal Information

As with Freedom of Information, any request that involves the release of personal information may be rejected on the grounds of the Data Protection Act 1998

Request is manifestly unreasonable

Where a request is considered vexatious or where the amount of information requested would take an unreasonable amount of time to locate.

Protection of the Environment

If it is considered that disclosure of the information could lead to environmental damage.

Where the request is considered ‘too general’

If the request is considered too general, the University may not be able to respond to it. We will however attempt to narrow down request to some specific information. If this is not possible, we will be unable to respond.

The Information is not complete

If the information is not completed and is intended for future publication, we will inform the applicant of the publication date but not release any information until then.

Disclosure of Internal Communications

If the information request is for information that does not yet show the agreed University position on an issue (i.e. draft papers), there is no duty to disclose the information if it is not in the public interest. This does not mean that documents can remain in draft format for ever.

Disclosure would affect international relations, defence, national security or public safety

Disclosure would effect the safety or protection of the public, public buildings, industrial sites

Intellectual property rights

Where the information relates to patents, trademarks, unregistered designs and disclosure would undermine these.

Confidentiality of Proceedings

Information relating to investigative, regulatory and other activities carried out according to a statutory scheme.

The Course of Justice

If disclosure would harm the ability of a person to obtain a fair trial, or an authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature.

Confidentiality of Commercial or Industrial Information 

Commercially sensitive information such as trade secrets, information from contractors, information as part of a tendering or procurement process, information held by regulators.

Against the Interests of the Supplier of Information

Where the supplier of the information has not consented to disclosure. 

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