FOI & Environmental Information Regs
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) give people a right of access to information held by public bodies, including Cotswold District Council, unless that information is subject to any of the exemptions specified by law.
Under FOI we produce a Publication Scheme which sets out the categories of information we publish. In addition we have produced a Publication Guide which tells you more about what we publish, where you can find it and details of any charges for accessing the information.
Environmental Information Regulations
Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) cover a wide variety of environmental information including:
- Raw data on topics such as air and water quality levels, industrial discharge rates, soil quality and biodiversity.
- Regulatory measures affecting the environment, including policies, plans, programmes and agreements.
- Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation.
- Economic analyses, including cost benefit analysis on regulatory measures.
- Health and safety information, on subject such as food and land contamination and quality of life.
The main differences between EIRs and FOIs are that:
- Requests for information through EIRs can be oral as well as written.
- The EIR Exemptions are narrower and fewer.
- The exemptions are all subject to the public interest test.
Public interest test
Generally the public interest is considered to be served when the disclosure of information would:
- Further the understanding of, and the participation in, the debate of issues of the day
- Facilitate the accountability and transparency of our decisions
- Facilitate accountability and transparency in the spending of public money
- Allow individuals to understand decisions made by us that affect their lives and, in some cases, assist individuals in challenging those decisions
- Bring to light information affecting public safety
However, we may withhold information where we think that the public interest will not be served, for instance where we believe that release will discourage openness in expression of opinions.
How to make a FOI or EIR request
If you are having difficulty or cannot find the information you are looking for in the Publication Scheme, and would like to make an FOI request, then please either;
- complete the Freedom of Information request online form which can be used for Freedom of Information or Environmental Information requests - you do not have to specify which you are using for your request)
- put your request in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Glos, GL7 1PX
- Email your request to the Freedom of Information team
We will normally respond to your request in full within 20 working days. However, if there is any concern about what information you require, or there are any related charges, or should we have to apply an exemption (that is, in some cases, subject to a public interest test) this time may be extended.
Please note the supply of information under FOI or EIR does not constitute permission for its use in a way that would infringe copyright and you should obtain permission from the copyholder before considering any such use.
If you are disappointed with the response to your enquiry you can ask us to review our decision and actions. You must do this within 40 working days of the date of our response stating the reason for your dissatisfaction, and we will respond within 20 working days of receipt. If you are still dissatisfied or we are unable to resolve any other complaint then you can contact:
- the independent regulator, the Information Commissioner.