The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give you the right to receive information that the council holds about environmental matters. Environmental information is:
- Information relating to the state of land, including water, air and soil.
- Information about emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, and waste.
- Activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the environment.
- The state of human health and safety and contamination of the food chain.
- Cultural and historic sites and built structures and the extent to which they may be affected by the state of the environment.
- Requests can be in writing or verbally.
- Requests can be made by organisations or individuals.
- Response time is 20 working days (which can be extended up to 40 working days where a request is complex or voluminous).
- A fee can be charged (unless access is being provided to a public register or if the information is examined at the councils offices).
- Exemptions from disclosure are available but in each case, only if the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.
- Information relating to emissions is subject to more limited exemptions from disclosure.
- Information which has the benefit of legal professional privilege may fall within one of the exemptions, but each case needs to be considered on its merit.
- Lack of third party consent does not necessarily prevent disclosure.
- There is a presumption in favour of disclosure.
- The disclosure obligation extends to information held by third parties on your behalf (e.g. waste contractors) or by you on behalf of third parties.
We may refuse to disclose information when:
- The information is not held by the council.
- We cannot ascertain the nature of the request.
- The request is 'manifestly unreasonable'.
- The information is 'unfinished or in the course of being completed'.
Information can be withheld if release would affect:
- Defence, international relations, national security, or public safety.
- The course of justice, or the confidentiality of proceedings.
- Intellectual property rights.
- Interests of the supplier of the information, where supply was voluntary.
- Commercial confidentiality.
- The protection of the environment.
If you would like to make an Environmental Information request you can do this in a number of ways:
- Requests can be made verbally or in writing.
- Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Print off and fill in an information request form
- Fill in and submit an online form to request information from Sunderland City Council
- You may make a request by letter, as long as you include your name and an address for reply.
Please mark your request 'Environmental Information Request' and send it to the address provided in the contact section on the right.
Freedom of Information Review Process
If you are dissatisfied with the way we have dealt with your request, you may put your comments to us and we will then reconsider our decision. The review will be dealt with by the Councils Information Governance Team. If you are still dissatisfied with the Council's response please refer to the information comissioner for a decision.